Hadlee Simons / Android Authority
Streaming music services are big business, with loads of platforms out there. They all operate on the same principle, letting you pay a monthly subscription fee or offering free access to millions of music tracks.
This theoretically means that you do not need to store local music files on your smartphone, save for music downloaded from these streaming services for offline playback. We were curious to find out just how many people had traditional music files on their phones, and here’s what you told us.
Do you have locally stored music files on your phone?
This was a mega-popular poll, with over 11,000 votes tallied as of writing. The most popular pick? Well, almost 70% of respondents said they indeed had locally stored music files on their smartphones.
Many readers supporting this stance noted in the comments that they liked having their entire music library available on their phones, while some noted they had music that could not be found on their desired streaming services. Some readers also noted their preference for local music files due to the lack of an internet connection in some circumstances.
Related: The best music player apps for Android
On the other end of the spectrum, 30.31% of polled readers said they did not have local music files stored on their smartphones. Reader comments supporting this position noted that streaming services offered offline playback functionality anyway and cheap subscription rates. Another reader added that the cloud-based nature of streaming means you won’t lose your favorite music if something happens to your device.
It goes without saying this poll likely does not reflect smartphone users at large. But it’s interesting to see these results nonetheless.
- Godwin Udoh: There was a time I had a good library on my phone. Then Google Play Music was still alive but in my country, I could not stream, so my only option was to download elsewhere and stack up. Then phone the phone got lost, along with all my music. (Ironically, I could back up all other stuff on my phone but not music, cos I did not see the need to fill my Google Drive app with just music)
It broke me. That was when I decided never again to have downloaded songs, rather, I’ll make my libraries online. Started music streaming with Boom Play Music, then Apple Music (which was the King of buggy android apps back then, dunno about now), then Deezer (ah… good times), then YTM.
- Angus Irving: I do not simply because I cannot be bothered. I use google music as it comes with YouTube premium. Still able to just listen to full albums. I see why you might not use digital music and play vinyl or CDs however I do not see the benefits of uploading all this digital music on your phone when you can stream it in high quality or download it from the app in high quality. Especially when you can get these services at majorly discounted prices often.
- Glenn: I keep my entire music collection on my phone – hundreds of full albums, thousands of tracks. I still prefer to just buy full albums from artists that I like versus subscribing to any streaming services. I think the artists get more of a cut this way, and my music is always available whether I have a data connection or not (I’m a frequent road-tripper and find myself off the grid often, so this is important!)
- Marc Klazek: I have plenty of MP3 files from 90s edm live sets that are impossible to find elsewhere
- Michael: My entire collection is on my phone, and on my PC – mostly in FLAC format. I do not stream and never will. I own my music, DRM free, and won’t have it any other way.
- Haley Parrot: Yes I have. It’s for when I’m offline and have no Internet reception, or when the song I want has geographic restriction on music streaming platforms. I store them on cheap micro SD card
- Anton Kovalenko: How else are you supposed to seamlessly listen to Music when commuting? Even densely populated areas still have dark spots in mobile internet reception, not to mention streaming services do not have everything.
- 919CnynCrvr: Yes. 120gb of music on my phone. Why? Because my job routinely takes me to the middle of the ocean, and my motorcycle riding routinely takes me to no phone service areas. So music files have always been a must have. Don’t want to get rid of them either.
- Timothy: Yes… but only Garth Brooks, as he refuses to put his music anywhere but Amazon Music, and I refuse to use Amazon Music. Everything else I just use Spotify.
- Liger21: No. I mostly stream music on my phone. If I want high quality music I just listen to my vinyl records at home or subscribe to a Hi-Fi streaming service. I rarely find myself without Wi-Fi or cell signal so local storage is unnecessary for me.
- Shizuma: Nope, aside from having all my playlists downloaded from YouTube Music I have not had music stored locally on my phone in many years.