Are you one of those people who still purchases and downloads their music from the iTunes music store, or maybe from Amazon? Perhaps you might even go to Best Buy every so often to get your hands on that new CD your favorite band put out recently. 

Let me ask you something - have you ever stopped to think about how much money you've spent on countless CD's, only to have broken or scratched beyond playability? Did you ever count the number of songs in your iTunes music library that you've purchased and multiplied them by .99 cents (or more, in some cases)? If not, do me a favor and do so right now before you continue reading this article.

Tell me, how much money have you spent on music in the past five years? $200? $500? More

According to a lot of studies, the average person spends, on average, $400 to $1000 per year on music. Over the course of a person's lifetime, it's normal to spend up to, and over, $50,000 on music alone, apparently. Now I don't know about you, but to me, that's a lot of money that I could be spending on something else, such as investing in a new business venture, saving up for a car, or maybe even just adding it to my retirement fund. 

I've always been one of those people who purchased their music via iTunes (and the occasional CD from Best Buy if it was a must have), and just over the course of two years of having an iTunes account, I had managed to find myself with $2000 worth of music that I had bought. When I realized that I could have purchased my first car with that sort of money, I was mentally kicking myself.

I didn't know what to do... should I keep spending money to have music to listen to on my iPod, or should I just stop buying my music and just search for music videos on Youtube to listen to? It'd be a tedious task, and it'd really suck since I wouldn't be able to really have an organizable library, but I wasn't really happy with the idea of spending thousands of dollars on music per year!

Then recently, earlier this year, I found the most amazing alternative.

I stumbled across an online music streaming service that would end up saving me hundreds of dollars a year! No more paying $50, $100, or even $150 a month on music. Now all I have to do is pay a mere $5/mo. and I get to listen to unlimited music, all day, every day, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Now instead of paying thousands of dollars a year, I pay less than $70 to have all the music I can ask for! 

The only thing I need to listen to my music is Internet connection. If I wanted, I could even pay $10/mo. to be able to listen to my music offline and on my iPod/Phone/Etc., but since I do most of my music listening at home on the computer, the $5/mo. option is absolutely perfect for me.

I've composed a small list of a few of the top music streaming services out there, along with information about each one so that you can decide for yourself if you'd be interested in using them. I couldn't see why you wouldn't be, though!

Spotify - All the Music, All the Time

Over 15 million songs

Spotify is one of the top dogs in the music steaming service game, and it's no wonder why. With a streaming library boasting over 15 million songs (and that's as of July '11), they're pretty much the number one choice for those looking to save instead of spend on music. They offer a $5/mo. plan for unlimited streaming, and a $10/mo. for unlimited streaming + offline listening and listening on mobile devices and MP3 players. You can indeed listen to music for free on Spotfiy, but ads are included. If you don't mind the occasional ads, then you'll love their free service! 

Pros: Affordable, option to listen to unlimited music for free, has a desktop client, large music library.

Cons: The desktop client isn't the greatest looking in the world if asthetics are what you're into.


Rdio - Unlimited Music, Everywhere

Over 8.5 million songs

Rdio is still pretty new, but it's quickly making a name for itself. With its unique design, ease of use and navigation, and handy music organization tools, it's really a treat to use. Though it might not boast such a large music library that Spotify does, they're constantly adding new content. I personally use Rdio because I really enjoy the wonderful layout and great customer service. Their plans include $5/mo. for unlimited streaming, or $10/mo. for unlimited streaming + offline listening and listening on mobile devices and MP3 players, just like Spotify does. You can also listen to music free, but only a limited amount of music per month unless you pay the subscription fee. 

Pros: Easy to use and navigate, great design, wonderful customer service, affordable, has desktop client.

Cons: Not such a large music library as Spotfiy, only able to listen to a certain amount of music per month for free, only availble in the USA and Canada. 


Grooveshark - The World's Largest International Community of Music Lovers

P2P Service, Streams 100 to 110 million tracks per month

Grooveshark is different that the music streaming services listed above because of a few reasons. First of all, it's 100% FREE to use and listen to music with, though it costs $9/mo. to be able to listen to music on your phone or MP3 player. The reason it's free is because it's a P2P (peer-to-peer) service, which means that the music is shared among people who use Grooveshark. I started out with Grooveshark and have got to say that it's great, especially for those who want to listen to unlimited music for free, however recently there's been a few legality issues since it's similar to Limewire, which was shut down some time ago. 

Pros: Unlimited music for free, easy to navigate and use.

Cons: Music is uploaded by anyone who wishes to so tracks might not be what they're listed as, legal issues that could possibly have Grooveshark shut down in future, no desktop client.


These aren't the only music streaming services out there

Please be aware that the music streaming services listed above aren't the only options out there. There are quite a few others, such as MOG, Napster, Qriocity, and more. Do yourself the justice and check them out, and consider switching to a music streaming service today! I've saved so much money by doing this, and I'm sure you will too!