Which do you prefer: streaming or downloading audio? Why?

Streaming allows you to start hearing an audio track within seconds of selecting it from a website, but when you stop listening, it's gone. Downloading a track allows you to store audio on your computer for use now or later, but it can take a while to complete. Which method of getting audio from the Internet do you prefer?

Which do you prefer: streaming or downloading audio? Why?
17% (19 votes)
38% (43 votes)
18% (20 votes)
27% (31 votes)
Total votes: 113

Tony Esporma's picture

Take this from a software developer deep within the bowels of convergence: The current audio quality of downloadable Internet music SUCKS. I'll wait until broadband wireless hits the streets and I can get non-lossy music on my disc. Other than that, with a fat pipe to my home: (ISDN AND cable modem), I find that the Web servers are the problem. I prefer to stream when I'm at work and I forgot my (GASP!) CDs . . . but still there are gaps. Downloads can be resource hogs; as a network guy, I detest the periodic loads they involve.

Graeme Nattress's picture

A stream to check that it sounds okay, followed by a download to keep it. Quicktime 4 allows a compromise between the two.

Dr.  Lars Bo Henriksen's picture

Who cares?

Stephen Curling's picture

if the conection is fast enough DLing is preferable because i can keep the music as long as i want. streaming has its strengths too such as internet radio...who wants to keep radio?

Doug Cline's picture

So far I have used this only to sample the CD. If I plan to buy it, I buy it as a CD. I generally dump the downloads (to keep my hard drive clean), so either method is fine by me.

Dave Brown's picture

Why would you download or stream audio? They both sound like sh*&.

Federico Cribiore's picture

Streaming tends to be such absurdly poor quality, with various phasing issues and so many other sonic absurdities, that I consider it a total waste of time. Downloading isn't much better, but at least you aren't subject to bandwidth quirks while you're trying to listen. On the whole, though, in my opinion both are about as far from hi-fi as could be, and are useful only in checking out an album for a second before you purchase it on an online site.

KCSO's picture

Streaming allows me to hear something right away. Even better if it's free! I use it mainly for previewing. If I wanted the real and, presumably, higher-quality stuff, I would then want the option to download.

Guy Giroux's picture

better sound and possibility to analize.

Ken Kirkpatrick's picture

I use the computer to listen to songs only to get an idea if I might like the CD, so I want the song to start instantly. I do not want to waste several minutes to download a song I do not like. And I do not want to store any song I download—the fidelity is not there yet. I will buy the CD if I like the songs.

H.K.  Hwa's picture

I don't want to see my hard drive quickly pulluted with downloaded bits and then have to somehow manage them.

Dexter M.  Price's picture

Downloads because, if the music is great, "once is not enough"!

Al Marcy's picture

I like ordering LPs and CDs.

Patrick Taylor's picture

Depends entirely on whether I want to keep the track for later or not.

John Atkinson's picture

I already have a source for streamed audio—the radio! If I want music available via the Internet, I'll download it, thank you very much, and have it available when I wish.

Peter Randell, New Zealand's picture

I always select Mpeg when given the choice. Real Audio is usually of such quality that it is hard to tell between music and random noise.

David L.  Wyatt, Jr.'s picture

Streaming, because I don't want to clutter my hard drive with stuff I won't use. The Internet is a format for auditioning, not listening.

Robert McIver's picture

Streaming media generally means a lower quality product. Compare real audio and mp3 - when properly encoded, mp3 can provide "good" sound. Also, with the introduction of broadband internet connections for home users, waiting for a piece of music to download will become less of an issue.

Jeff Isles's picture

cause if you like it then you can start to dload it and get on with life .. with the dloading option you have to wait until it is dloaded b4 u r able to listen to it and if you don't like it - then wasn't that a waste of time!!

R.  Fauska, Colgate WI's picture

Quality rules over avaialability, to me. Listening to music sourced through the WEB today, is like listening to FM radio.

Scot Forier's picture

I like both ideas. At the moment I prefer streaming data into my computer, so I don't have to use precious hard-drive space. Until I get the itch to start to upgrade to a larger hard drive and my modem to faster than 56k, downloading will have to wait.

john_nemesh@airswitch.net's picture

Streaming is fine, but usually of lower quality. I want the highest fidelity I can get, CD or BETTER! So when I can, I usually download. Since I have a 10Mbps connection at home, I don't mind the large file sizes. I do wish that Spinner.com would get with the program and offer higher-quality streams, though. I often listen to Spinner just because they have REALLY good content and they are very easy to use. Two clicks, and you're listening to (almost) non-stop music! Great stuff, all of it!

Bob bookman's picture

I'd rather buy the CD

Michael Hackett's picture

For quick samples, streaming audio is fine. However, the quality of streaming audio (over anything less than T1) is too poor to be worth keeping anyway. For anything I might like to listen to more than once, I'd rather leave the computer on overnight to download the highest-quality files I can access to listen to later.

Ron Gamble's picture

Both: first stream it to evaluate it, then download it if you like it, as it does take too much time to download.

Tug Hill's picture

I don't like the idea of a so-called audiophile listening to poor-quality sound via the Internet and getting all excited over it. It is just noise—poor quality, no matter which one it is!

Martin Bruczkowski's picture

As with everything, there should be a choice.

Herman Melville's picture

I can't tell a thing about whether I'm going to like an album or not from 40 seconds of fuzzy, ultra-lossy compressed sound. Sorry. Fortunately, I live near a CD shop that permits exchages of opened CDs within 3 days, so that allows time for home auditioning. I only buy CDs I've already heard from Internet sites.

Anonymous's picture

why would i want either?

Ray Milks's picture

I choose downloads. Why? In a word, streaming sucks. I have T-1 access, so bandwidth is not a problem. Streaming audio sounds to me like overcompressed AM with just a little more frequency bandwidth. Streaming is also prone to dropouts, static, and a host of other convenience plagues. Download—it's the Net-based audio of the future.