How do you prefer to get your digital content – via streaming or by downloading it?
Streaming services of all kinds are currently on the rise and Amazon‘s Fire Stick and Fire TV are undisputable best sellers in this category. According to a report by Nielsen SoundScan, the streaming of music-related digital content (both video and audio) has witnessed a growth of 54% in 2014. In the meantime, digital download sales continue to register a slowdown. Over the past one year, digital sales of songs have declined by 12%, whereas those of music albums have fallen by 9%.
Nevertheless, blindly following a trend is never a good idea. Even the latest tendencies come with their flaws. Therefore, before you decide to switch to streaming and abandon digital downloads, you need to consider all of their advantages and disadvantages.
Although streaming of any type of content requires you to have a minimal amount of storage on your device, it is only for temporary use. Therefore, with streaming it is almost as if you have unlimited storage capacity. You can watch movies, listen to songs, play video games non-stop without having to worry about memory capacity. With downloading, however, there is a constant need to expand your storage or to delete content unless you opt for a device with 1TB memory from the start. In addition, even if you have a super big hard disk, there is always a risk that the content stored on it can get corrupted, mismanaged or accidentally deleted. Similar is the case for people who store their digital content library on CDs, DVDs and portable flash drives. On the other hand, many large online stores, like Amazon and iTunes, offer a backup copy of all the content you have purchased. This means that you can re-download it anytime you want.
Winner – Streaming takes all the points here!
Even though you get to enjoy unlimited storage with streaming services, you do not get unlimited access to your content. That is simply because streaming always requires a web connection. Downloading, on the contrary, enables you to enjoy your content anywhere you are.
Winner – Downloading! It is true that there are some streaming services, like Spotify, that support offline mode. However, that mode relies entirely on downloading.
Most streaming services, especially those focusing on audio content, support free membership. Even though members who do not pay subscription fee are often limited in terms of features and the amount of content they can use, it is still free. Well, movie and music addicts may not be happy with what the free membership has to offer them, but for others it will be more than enough.
Winner – Streaming is the more affordable option unless you are a digital pirate or you a massive content consumer.