Lifehacker's Whitson Gordon wonders whether we as music consumers are ready to give up our personal music collections and move to streaming services full-time. He discusses the pros and cons of Spotify and Rdio vs. iTunes or a MP3 collection on a mobile device. His conclusion is that the streaming services aren't quite there yet. Between missing artists and awkward handling of local tracks that they don't own, getting everything you might want from a streaming service isn't possible yet.
I don't have an opinion about any of the streaming services. I still have two CD racks in my apartment that I haven't decided what to do with yet. I haven't taken any of them off the shelf in at least a couple of years. Some of them haven't moved off the shelf since I moved into this apartment four years ago. And while I haven't taken an official inventory, it's possible that I have twice as much music on my computer as I have on those shelves. But I hang onto these CDs, especially the rock CDs, as if they're some sort of lifeline. I have this irrational fear that if I sell the CDs and keep the music on my computer, that someday the RIAA will track me down and make me pay exorbitant rights fees for my own music. (I wouldn't get rid of the classical CDs, in some cases because of the excellent liner notes, and in others because they're rare or more meaningful to me.) If I'm not ready to part with my actual CDs, the physical representation of the sound, I'm definitely not ready to erase the 100+ GB of music files on my hard drive and rely on the Internet to provide my entertainment.
Let's try this again in five years. Maybe by then the various services will sort out this mess and ubiquitous Internet connections will make my computer's hard drive obsolete.