Streaming service is like getting a friend's iPod loaded with cool tunes

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Actual record albums – big vinyl platters with grooves and intricate album art – may be experiencing a bit of a renaissance, but the fact remains that digital is the music format of the present and future. In just the past three decades, we've seen the CD come and go, the iPod rise and fall, both eventually displaced by the new king of pop, the smartphone.

Increasingly, listeners no longer even download music, simply streaming music from a service instead. Those services, such as Spotify and Rdio, offers access to millions upon millions of tunes, basically killing the concept of compiling a personal music "collection."

But here's the hitch: Without a paid subscription to streaming services (about $10 a month for Spotify), listeners get stuck with the most annoying of listening experiences: ads between songs.

This makes the new Amazon Prime Music service feel like a gift from rock 'n' roll heaven. If you're already a customer of Amazon Prime (a $99-per-year bundle of streaming movies and TV and free shipping benefits on physical products), you can now listen to albums on demand at no additional charge. And with no ads!

Sure, the catalog is relatively small (about 1 million songs on Amazon Music vs. 20 million on Spotify), but the price is right. It's like a friend just gave you an iPod filled with cool tunes.

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