What Do You Listen To In the Combine?

Prairie Gleanings

Renting, rather than owning, music was one of the best decisions I've made in the past month. I've saved a lot of money.

Published on: September 27, 2011
I’ve got a bit of a confession to make. I’m a music nut. What type, you ask. Anything and everything. Right now, I’m listening to Rod Stewart’s “Maggie May.” As I culled through my e-mail, I’ve listened to The Statler Brothers, Nirvana, Brett Dennen and Jackson Browne.

About a month ago, I gave up on the idea of “owning” the music I enjoy. It was getting expensive, even at 99 cents a song. Plus, it’s a hassle to load it onto phones, iPods, computers, etc. Therefore, I joined a music streaming service. Basically, for a monthly fee, you get to play all the music you want from their expansive library.

Remember Napster in the late 90s, early 2000s? That was a P2P service, which the courts determined is akin to stealing music. This is not that. After Napster was sued, it reinvented itself by becoming a music streaming service. With these services, you do not actually own the song. You’ve simply paid for the right to play it. Think Netflix, but rather than having a couple movies out at once, you can have as many as you want.

In the past year or so, these services have evolved. With the rampant use of smartphones, you now have access to a massive music library where-ever you go. I’m not sure what you listen to in the combine for hours on end, but I’ve found these services extremely useful for long road trips.

They don’t have the local ag reporting offered by Illinois’ terrific broadcasters, but those folks don’t do 24-hour programs. I’m sure there are times when you’re in the field and wish you could hear George Strait’s new “Here for a Good Time” as a quick pick me up to make it down the next row.

When I made the switch a month ago, I joined Spotify. It’s a UK-based company. Best thing about it is you can get complete access to their song library for free from a PC. (With Napster, you have to pay to listen from a PC. Though, they do offer a free 7-day trial.) Thus, you can see if your favorite artists are in their library. Some artists do not agree with the idea of “renting” music (ahem, Metallica).

With Spotify, you only pay if you want to access the library from your mobile device. At which point, it costs $10 per month. In my experience, I can stream music very well with only two bars of 3G service. However, I’m sure there are spots in the field that don’t have any coverage. No worries. You can also “sync” your mobile device with your account. This gives you access to the song when you don’t have a data connection. Basically, you’re downloading the song to your device.

As more things move to the “cloud” I see this as a natural progression for music. You can create playlists for easy access to your favorite types of music. Whether you’re at home, in the car or the combine, you can listen to whatever you, or the family, want to for only $10/month.