In yesterday’s post, I talked about how convenient Spotify can be. But let’s talk about cost. Unless you’re Jermaine Dupri circa 1998, money IS a thang, and it’s worth learning about Spotify’s price points. The bottom rung of the ladder is free — once you’re invited and set up an account, you can stream millions of tracks on your computer, but there are ads and time limitations, both of which go away when you sign up for the second rung, Spotify Unlimited, which costs $4.99 a month. The third option, the $9.99-a-month Spotify Premium, is where things get interesting. You get access to the same huge library of music, plus you can access music on your phone AND make songs available for offline listening. So, if you’re on the beach, and Jay Ward of White Laces tweets about a band you’ve never heard of, you can hop on Spotify and find out that Other Lives makes wonderfully enthralling and richly layered songs like “As I Lay My Head Down.” If you love finding new music, this is where the value lies. Apple’s iCloud will let me access my music, but Spotify Premium gives me a legitimate way to hear Other Lives’ totally unfamiliar Tamer Animals album right away. I know I’ll keep buying music from iTunes for the time being, because I’m still not used to not “owning” my music (though that brings up an entirely different discussion about Apple’s file format) and I worry that artists won’t see the money they deserve, but I love that in that moment, while checking Twitter on the beach, I was able to find a band that I look forward to patronizing, in one form or another, for a long time. Check out “As I Lay My Head Down” below, and click here to grab the album from iTunes.