Friday night topic: How do you listen to music?

Last year, I discovered the wonder that is Spotify. Before I tried it, I thought the service was just a Pandora clone, but I quickly got hooked on Spotify's free access to almost unlimited music. I found myself listening to a wider variety of genres than ever, as I no longer had to commit to buying an album or two at a time. After trying the three-month trial for Spotify Premium, I gave in and subscribed so I could download music and avoid ads.

Google and Apple both introduced their own Spotify competitors last year. Apple Music and its exclusive Beats One radio station are gaining subscribers at a healthy pace, while Google's Play Music service brings a few YouTube-related benefits to the table if you subscribe to YouTube Red. Services like these are just one of the many ways to access music. Other cloud services like Soundcloud are appealing as well. Soundcloud is open to anyone, so wandering that site can lead to the discovery of many great indie artists. I ran across EDM labels Monstercat and NCS on Soundcloud, and I've been hooked since.

There are also services that still let you buy individual tracks and own your music—crazy, right? iTunes and Windows Media Player (or is it Xbox Music, er, Groove Music, erm...) remain the most prominent of these. Some people even run their own little cloud server. With all these possible options, I'm interested to see how you all access your music.

I'm also curious what audio devices the gerbil army is outfitted with. I use a set of mid-tier stereo speakers with a separate subwoofer when listening to music at my desk. I also have a headset that I use as headphones when recording and editing audio. I am aware that many audiophiles swear by a good pair of headphones for listening to music, so maybe I'm doing it wrong. On the go, I simply use a pair of earbuds for portability's sake. Earbuds seem like the most popular option, though I'll occasionally see people sporting full-sized headphones, too. 

How do you listen to your music?

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