3 Frugal Options for Music Lovers

by AJ Pettersen · 8 comments

cheap music

One of my favorite aspects of music is that it doesn’t only remind us of the past—it can actually bring us to inhabit a memory, simply by provoking a feeling. I know I tie a lot of positive—and negative—memories back to the sounds that surrounded me at different points in my life.

When I look around on my morning commute, I see so many people electronically enjoying their tunes on the way to work, during exercise, and on lunch breaks. It gives me so much joy, because I can clearly recall the days when music used to only be sold in hard copies—records, 8 tracks, tapes, CDs. But now, because of technology, it’s personalized and it’s everywhere.

For those of us who love music, there are a number of different ways to listen to your favorite tunes on the cheap. Here are some of my favorites:

frugal music1. Individual Songs

It’s no secret that almost two decades ago (!!!) now, the introduction of the iPod by Apple revolutionized the music industry. It made large quantities of music available at the touch of a button.

Now, instead of purchasing full albums, we can buy singular pieces of music off of iTunes for just $0.99. The benefit of this is having complete access to the song whenever you want it.

2. Online Radio

Don’t like the hassle of making playlists or finding new music? Services like Pandora and Slacker Radio shuffle through songs based on certain criteria. Find a station you enjoy and you will find new releases that are similar to your interests.

The best part? Pandora is free of cost and is available across a number of platforms, including your smartphone, iPads, and desktop.

True, listening is split up by the occasional short commercial, but that’s a small price to pay for unlimited music—not to mention what allows these radio services to stay free.

3. Online Streaming

The most exciting new development in music over the last few years has been online streaming sites. These services allow you to pick all of your own music and make playlists like iTunes, but like online radio, they need an internet connection for streaming to work.

I used a site called Grooveshark in college to listen to music in my dorm room. It was convenient because I always had a connection in my room and I could choose the music I wanted. They also allowed me to listen to a song in full before deciding if I wanted to purchase it on iTunes.

Spotify is obviously the biggest contender in this space, alongside Apple Music.

One uncommon way to access streaming music is by tapping into YouTube. Their social video platform allows you to curate playlists and listen to them with or without watching the video. Nearly every song in existence is available on the site, making it an epic alternative to free or cheap music.

What Do You Use?

I use a combination of these services. Whenever I online and I am looking for some new music, I use Pandora. If I am at the computer, then I go to YouTube. When I know I want to take a song with me, I turn to iTunes and my iPod.

It’s a great time to be a frugal music lover, because there are so many options these days.

What’s your favorite way to listen to music?

Disclaimer: I didn’t mention illegal downloading, which is the wrong way to consume music. This practice is illegal, and not something you want to do.

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{ read the comments below or add one }

  • Shane says:

    I use them all Itunes, pandora spotify playlist. I can’t live without my music!

  • I mostly use iTunes as well as Amazon. It’s excellent to be able to buy personal music ever since iTunes created it possible. I also pay attention to web stations quite often too since it hardly uses up any information and can keep it operating on the part all the time

  • Jean says:

    I mostly use iTunes as well as Amazon. It’s great to be able to buy individual songs ever since iTunes made it possible. I also listen to web radio quite often too since it barely uses up any bandwidth and can keep it running on the side all the time.

    -Jean

  • Mike says:

    I have a friend who buys online, and willingly shares it with me.

    • Kiwikid says:

      Which is illegal. So, would you have any objections if, say, someone you know came and borrowed your (perhaps hypothetical) lawnmower, permanently? No of course not, you’re so altruistic you’d just go out and buy a new one. Yeah Right!

  • I can’t stream music at work and it takes too much data for my phone. I normally just listen to the radio in my car but if there is a song I really want to hear I will use grooveshark.

  • Jules says:

    I’m considering a Spotify account. It’s sort of like iTunes, except the songs stay online and you can access them whenever you have Internet. The free account has ads, but I’m thinking about getting the $5 or $10/month account, because you don’t have to deal with ads.

  • Patty says:

    You forgot the library. If I hear a tune, I check out itunes, then place a request from the library. If I like the disk I buy it, only certain songs, I just buy them. Or I just listen to the disk and return it.

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