I finally did it. Why swim against the stream when you can just swim and listen with it?

If you're a younger music fan - maybe in your teens or 20s - the concept of streaming your favorite music is a given. It's just what you do. Kinda like breathing. I mean, really, who actually buys their music these days right? Well, I never thought I'd give a "When I was your age" speech but, yup, here it is.

Anyone who is around 40 years old and up knows exactly what I mean when I say that buying an album, cassette or cd from the music store was a special experience. I remember when I was in high school in the late 80s I would take the money I earned from my weekend job and head straight for Strawberries Records on Queen Street in Southington to buy a brand new cassette or cd from my favorite artists. I couldn't wait to rip apart that cellophane sealing, open the cartridge, carefully slide the cassette into my car stereo and cruise around town through the back roads until the final song on side two was complete.

It was around 1988 when I became a huge Van Halen fan. If I could go back in time and relive that experience of buying and listening to each of those albums as I bought them on cassette week after week until I had them all I would do it in a heartbeat. I did the same for Tom Petty, AC/DC, Pink Floyd, Zeppelin and on-and-on until it went from cassettes to cds. I heard a song on the local rock radio station and decided right then and there if I wanted to hear more.

For the younger readers here this relic is known as a "cassette".
This precious relic known as a "cassette" was recently unearthed from Eric Senich's apartment.

I remember finally buying AC/DC's 'Back In Black' and 'Highway to Hell' and thinking, "O.K. Now I know what everyone was talking about. Now I get why this is considered a classic." One song after another, they all kicked some serious ass and the best part - those songs were now mine to play whenever I wanted. Once you bought that album it wasn't just a part of your music collection, it was a part of your life. I still have most of the cassettes I bought back then just to remind me of when my fascination with rock music began.

So, needless to say, the idea of renting music as opposed to buying it was something I put off. It was a decision that required some serious thinking on my part. Over time, however, it seemed like an unavoidable one. Words like Spotify and Pandora are as commonly heard on a daily basis as hello and goodbye. Even old school rock publications like Rolling Stone started running a weekly article on their website called "Best Albums To Stream Now". The times they are a-changin' indeed.

Here's an interesting video posted by The Wall Street Journal where an old-school music fan and new-school music fan debate and discuss the Stream It vs Buy It topic:

After doing my share of internal debate over the last few years I finally decided to change with the changin' times. Since I was already an Amazon Prime member I decided to put up another $7.99 a month and subscribe to their Amazon Unlimited music streaming service. I have to admit, so far I like it. Don't get me wrong. It still lacks the emotional connection I made when I went out and bought a new album but those days are sadly over. There's no use thinking we can ever go back. I'm starting to get a little choked up here. I think I just shed a tear. Give me a second.....O.K. I'm back. Let's continue.

Another positive with streaming music is that the artists are getting some financial profit from their hard work and time put in the studio. Sure, it may not be nearly as much as when consumers bought music but it's a hell of a lot better than getting nothing at all. Streaming music services have greatly reduced the amount of music that was, at one time, being stolen left and right and that was flat out wrong.

This isn't to say that I'm going all streaming from here on out. When it comes to my all-time favorite bands and artists I still prefer owning their music. Trust me, if Van Halen ever releases another album I can guarantee you I'm buyin' it. But at least now I have access to millions of songs from thousands of artists. Who knows? I may discover a new favorite band or artist this way. I would say that streaming and buying seems to be getting the best of both worlds...just as long as I pay my monthly fee.

So I want to know what you think. Do you stream your music? Do you still buy? Maybe you're like me and plan to do both. Choose below:

You can listen to Eric Senich live on Saturdays from 10am to 3pm on 95.1 FM. You can also listen online by clicking here or by downloading the i95 ROCK Mobile App.

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