Hi! My name is JC and I am a recovering digital hoarder.

For years, I have collected all sorts of media through legal and semi-legal means. (I might have dabbled with Napster years ago. And what is this torrent you speak of?) I was (am) generally happy with my hoard. I was even able to bring my music wherever I went though. I didn’t have an iPod but I did have my trusty Creative Zen Vision M portable music player. It had a whopping 30GB spinning hard drive inside which I filled with music, audiobooks, and even video.

However, within the last couple of years, my digital media—especially my digital music—have been collecting digital dust as I have been paying for the cloud-based music platform, Spotify. So, how did I get from being a digital hoarder to a digital streamer? Let’s start the beginning.

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It started with a password…

…or more precisely, a password manager called LastPass. For those who don’t know what LastPass is, it’s a cloud-based password manager. It’s actually free to use and I have used it for free for a long time but there are features that are only available for paid users such as being able to use it on mobile devices and sync it with my desktop browsers.

It really didn’t cost much per month. At US$1 a month, or roughly P46 a month, it isn’t much for the convenience of the added features the service provided. I could have easily paid for the subscription and be on my merry way.

The thing is, I really didn’t believe in subscription services. I thought, “Sure, P46 a month isn’t that much but how much would I have spent on LastPass for one year? For two years? For five?”

“I get what you’re doing LastPass and I won’t fall for it! I’m happy with your free service, thank you very much!”

But when I really thought about it, the money I’ve spent those years would have been worth it for the convenience that LastPass provided me. So I caved and have been a loyal LastPass customer for years.

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The 9-peso candy

Just like LastPass, I’ve been a free user of Spotify when it became available locally. And as with LastPass, I refused to pay for the subscription fee. It didn’t matter much to me as well since I have my music on my portable devices such as my smartphone and my tablet. (I had since stopped carrying my Zen Vision M because it wouldn’t hold much of a charge as it used to.) I could listen to my favorite music anywhere. I even stopped listening to the radio. I would rather listen to my tunes and avoid the commercials.

The thing is and what I’ve come to realize, is that, what I’ve been doing since forever is listen to the same music again and again and again… and again. Not that I have a problem listening to the same music. I think of myself as someone that has excellent taste in music but I don’t give myself an avenue to listen to new music. Sure, there would be times when a song becomes so popular that I get wind of it or I tune into MTV or MYX at the right time and I’d get hooked on a song but those are too few and far between.

Then one fateful day, I got an email from Spotify which had a promo that I’d get access their premium features for three months for only P9! I thought to myself, why not? What is nine bucks for something that I probably won’t use anyway? And I’d get to cancel the subscription before the three months passed.

So, for the first few days, I’d play with it. I’d open the app, listen to a few songs that were already in my collection—at least now, I could listen to an album in sequence and not randomly like the free version. After that, days passed where I would completely forget I even had Spotify. Then two months passed and I was still listening to my collection.

By the third month, something happened. I had a deadline that I was going to miss and I had to cram like I used to do back in college! Panic set in and then I remembered I had saved a playlist on Spotify that could help me concentrate while I finished writing before the deadline was up. After that, I began to play with the app more and more. I was able to listen to artists that were on my radar but I wouldn’t have necessarily bought their album. I also discovered a few of artists based on the music I liked. I also realized that I can essentially listen to all the albums I’ve always wanted to listen to without having to spend all my money to buy them.

I got hooked and even when the three months were up, I continued to be Spotify Premium user.

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Netflix and chill… someday

Now that I don’t own the music I listen to anymore, what’s the next step? Logically, it’s video. And when you think of streaming video over the internet, there are two names you immediately think of: YouTube and Netflix.

Yeah, there are other services out there but Netflix is the one to get especially since they have shows exclusive to the service (*cough*Daredevil*cough*Jessica Jones*cough*Voltron*cough*). It’s true that not all of the movies available in other countries are available locally, but you know that their selection is still extensive—and again, Voltron!

The thing is, there are a couple of things holding me back from “Netflix and chill.” First is price. For a laidback experience that is watching a movie or bingeing a series, you’ll want to do it in front of a big screen TV. No matter how big the PC monitor is, there’s still nothing quite like chilling on the sofa with snack in hand enjoying the show. That means that P370, which is the lowest tier, isn’t enough. I’ll need to get the second tier that does offer HD quality streams. Honestly, the price isn’t much of a problem. With a little bit of saving here and there, I can comfortably pay the Netflix subscription. The bigger problem is the second rub—and that is, my DSL bandwidth.

With a max bandwidth of 3Mbps, it really isn’t enough to pump all that HD goodness to the screen—not to mention all the other streams when other family members are home consuming bandwidth. Sure, I can take them out permanently just to enjoy Netflix in HD but that really isn’t practical is it; nor is it legal?

I guess Netflix will have to wait until I can get better bandwidth.

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Parting words

So, where does this leave us? As of this writing, I still have my music on my portable devices but now, I open up the Spotify app more than listen to my stored music. I really am considering upgrading my DSL connection to accommodate Netflix.

What about you, dear reader? Are you already a paid subscriber to any of the streaming services? Are you thinking about paying for any of these services? Or are you like what I was, so adamantly averse to paying to these services as a way to stick it to “The Man?”