Balancing time for music: Discovery/acquisition vs. listening

I have limited time to devote to my music/audio hobby.  I love listening to music on my server whenever I get a chance (and this is listening as a destination activity).  But I am also aware there is an incredible amount of music out there to be discovered.  Liking many different genres only expands the music I want to discover.  So, I have to decide how best to use my time:  Listening, or discovery/acquisition.  I discover music largely via internet radio (nearly infinite choices).  I acquire it through a variety of means, from recording music from various sources to buying CDs on line or visiting record shows.  But every minute spent adding music to my collection is a minute spent not listening to music on my system.  What to do?  What do you do?  I know many will suggest Tidal as a way to eliminate the acquisition phase, but I am reluctant to pay a monthly fee, and I have been able to stump Tidal when I have had access to it (stump it, meaning I was able to find music not offered on Tidal - mostly obscure stuff, but, there you go).  I'd appreciate any input you can give me on how you handle this dilemma.  TIA!
I tend to go in streaks of a few weeks; exploring new music, then listening to a lot of it, returning to older music I know...I wish I could hear everything and read every book and see every movie I want...not sure I understand your reluctance for Tidal; I hear lots of music there I would never hear anywhere else. Sometimes I buy the CD, mostly not. Yes, there is plenty they do not have, but they have so many albums I want to hear but not buy...
Bondman (and everyone else, I suppose):

I recently discovered a new "secret" that resolves the discovery and acquisition problem.

I've been buying used 7th generation iPod Classics (160gb) on eBay lately - Around $200 a pop if in good condition and only go after those that have thousands of songs pre-loaded.

In one case I scored a unit that had over 12,000 songs on it (imagine if you had to pay $.99 a piece?).

I have a dock and connect them directly via USB to my DAC.

I realize that it's a crap shoot but that's part of the fun.


I am just getting into this, but compared to Tidal, Spotify has a much better offering for just about every genre.
At $10 bucks/month, it is a great deal for me. Though not as high a bitstream as Tidal, I find it totally acceptable.
Even ClassicsOnline(now defunct) didn't offer as much. The Naxos recordings that weren't available there, were on Spotify.

I guess I don't understand the need for help. IMO, if you desire the one over the other, you'll find your own way.

Happy Listening!

slaw - I started this thread because time is a very precious commodity.  Note that I participate on Audiogon from work, where, ironically, I have much more free time than at home.  But the listening and discovery/acquisition activities must be done at home, hence the dilemma.  IOW, I desire both, and both must be done during the limited time I have for these activities.  Sometimes I find myself neglecting one or the other, and shift to the neglected activity.  But I soon realize I am neglecting the other activity, and I get a bit frustrated. 

Also, I have been able to "stump" Tidal numerous times, searching for artists Tidal does not offer.  To my way of thinking, if I am going to pay up for such a service, they had better have everything!  Maybe Spotify is better in this regard, but $120/year for MP3-quality music is a big pill to swallow for me.

none of them has everything, some labels won't give anything, or anything new to a streaming service...
Though Spotify isn't on the cutting edge of fidelity, I do not find it significantly worse than Tidal. In fact, I hardly notice the difference.
I think Apple slightly edges out Spotify in sound quality.  Amazon music is the worst.  Tidal's sound quality is excellent and for sure sounds better than Spotify especially if you have DAC to match.  I think you get what you pay for.  For me the lossless flac streaming is worth the additional $10 dollars a month. 
If I had to choose only one, I'd pick Spotify over Tidal in a heartbeat. It has about 90% of what I search for (Tidal has maybe 66%), and--as long as you use it consistently--its really good at recommending new artists. I'd drop Tidal, but its still cheaper than buying all the releases I like.
if, as you suggest, your main objective is to most efficiently discover music (as opposed to collecting discs, achieving the best possible sound, etc.), i'd opt for spotify premium--it has the largest library, excellent recommendation software and very streamlined interface. granted, tidal sounds better  (though for me it wasn't a night-and-day improvement), but spotify is much better than mp3 quality and works with many more devices.

Thanks, Loomis.  I am not ruling out a streaming service, but I am indeed a collector of music - CDs & LPs.  Also, I have no economical way of streaming in the car, and I drive a lot each day.  The car is a very imperfect environment for music listening, but I have a decent car stereo, and I really enjoy listening to CDs on my commute (my older system has no auxiliary input or USB slot).  So, I lean towards collecting physical media.  I know, the 20th Century just called, and it wants its media back.  I'm old.


check out NPR both on-line and in your car on commute. It is a free and easy way to discover new music.

I am an avid collector of CD & SACD as well.

Thanks, jafant.  But if I am flying down the Garden State Parkway at 70 mph and I hear a song I want to add to my collction, what would I do?  Too dangerous.  Years ago, I heard my first The Sundays song on the car radio.  I had to pull over to write it down.  I can't really do that most of the time.

I have other issues with NPR, too, although they are not relevent to this thread.

But I will say that internet radio has been a fantastic source for discovering new music.  I was just listening to Call Me Kat on my way to work today, just one of dozens of internet radio discoveries.

Download Shazam app onto your smartphone with a shortcut on your homepage. 
Listen to WFUV out of Forham or drive south on the GSP and pickup WXPN 88.5 out of U of PA. tap shazam when you hear something you like, and it will find the song and store it for you in your phone so you can investigate when you aren't driving. Cheers,
Thanks, Spencer.  I might try that, although I still would prefer to listen to my own music in the car.  Internet radio is ideal backround at home while checking emails.  Easy to have a pen & paper nearby, and my Squeezebox Touch usually displays artist & title.  If not, I have Midomi open in a window on my laptop.

NPR is liberal (in the worst way) at least they come off pretty good on music. XM/Sirius is outstanding for discovering new music. Keep me posted as you find other avenues on your Musical journey.

Happy Listening!