Four Ways to Listen to Music on the Cheap

I’ve honestly never met a person who doesn’t like music, and if I did I’d stay away from them because they’d probably be weird.

Music is one of the oldest forms of entertainment, adding melody to our lives and getting people jiggy since the dawn of time.

Unfortunately for this most simple of pleasures, consuming music, whether it’s on your phone, in your home, or live, can get pretty exxy.

If you don’t want to end up like me, surviving on tinned tuna and Maggi noodles for a month because you shelled out $250 for a Beyoncé ticket (no regrets, it was amazing), there are plenty of ways to get more bang for your buck when it comes to sourcing those sweet tunes.

Get the inside word

Sometimes just by signing up to a music venue’s mailing list, or following a touring company on social media you can have access to early bird discounts, promo codes and competitions.

You could even go a step further and become a paying member of a venue. For example, if you pay the $110 a year to become a Sydney Opera House member you get 10% off all purchases, which may pay for itself if you go to enough performances.

So why not check out what your favourite venue offers? Even if you can’t get a discount you’ll often get dibs on the first tickets out, before the lower tier (read: cheaper) options sell out.

Free and legal

While it’s great for the artist if you buy all of their music, you don’t always have to download it from iTunes/Google Play for a premium price.

Lots of artists actually dish it out for free on their Facebook page or website if you like their page or enter your email.

And doesn’t stop there; iTunes has a single of the week you can download for free, and First Play gives you streaming access to brand new albums before they come out. Soundcloud and Bandcamp are other great ports of call for both streaming and free downloads.

But while I dabble in all of the above, I am a major advocate of Spotify. It’s a simple model; pay $11.99 a month for the premium subscription (roughly the cost of downloading four singles), and stream as much music as you want. I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a track from iTunes.

So even though it’s another bill to pay, it comes out far cheaper than a year’s worth of individual purchases.  Plus it saves space on your phone from not having 259 days’worth of mp3s clogging up your gigabytes.

Start small

While you may want to see the latest Taylor Swift arena spectacular comin’to town (no judgement), sometimes it’s not always feasible when it comes to affordability.

If live music is your thing and you live in any un-remote area, I can guarantee you there are countless pubs/bars/clubs/venues offering free or cheap gigs somewhere near you.

Keep your eye on bill posters, and stay tuned to the Triple J website for news of smaller indie acts playing near you. Plus the smaller you go, the more music snob you get to be when an act you’ve seen gets big and you’re all like, “I saw them live before they were cool.”


Yes it’s all the rage these days to have retro everything, but vinyl is a really fun and often inexpensive way to listen to music at home.

I bought a turntable that has an AUX plug and USB slot for my modern needs, for under a hundred bucks. This was about two years ago and I now have a large vinyl collection almost exclusively collected from markets and the bargain bin at record stores.

You can pick up old school gems anywhere from $1 and up depending on the rarity of the album. My best buy to date was The Sound Of Music soundtrack for a dollar.

It’s a lot of fun to collect, and makes for a novelty attraction whenever friends come around.

So there you have it kids. Go get your groove on in whichever fiscally responsible way you see fit, because as the wise Puff Daddy once said, “it’s all about the Benjamins baby”.

Image: Thomas, via Flickr