Planning on spending some time in Madrid in the near future? If so, there are undoubtedly a million things on your mind regarding your trip and time abroad: what clothes to pack, sorting out a phone, getting the proper adapters for your electronic devices, what to leave at home, and so forth. One thing that you probably haven’t given any thought to, however, is how you’re going to keep up on your music library while you’re here. Of course, this is a seemingly insignificant detail when one is about to embark on a life-changing journey, but something that will certainly become a concern for any melómano, or music-lover, once settled. So, in today’s post we’re going to discuss where to get music in Madrid.
Acquiring Music Spanish-Style
When was the last time you bought a physical CD? Chances are it’s been a while — and even more so for Spaniards. Due to extremely high CD prices — prices upwards of 15€ or 20€ for a new release — Spain has become one of the top countries in the world for piracy. This situation has not only affected the music industry, but practically every area of culture, whether it be cinema, books, or whatever. Can you imagine yourself paying $20 for an album? Perhaps, if it were for a difficult to find import or something of the sort, but certainly not for any and every CD you want to buy. Keep in mind that salaries in Madrid are lower than in the US for many, and that earning 1.000€ a month is more than what many people get. Don’t forget, as well, that for the past several years the Euro was worth quite a bit more than the dollar (a situation that has recently changed, the exchange rate not having been so low in over ten years), which made things even more expensive, comparatively. Facing such a panorama, it’s quite understandable why practically no one in Spain actually pays for music these days. As usual, “Spain is different.”
So what do Spaniards do to obtain music? A vast majority of people in Spain satisfy their music tastes by using the program Spotify. By upgrading to a premium account for only 9,99€/month (aprox. $11.32/month), you have non-stop radio and can even download songs and listen offline. Another common option is to download music from YouTube. There are many YouTube to MP3 converters available online which allow you to convert the audio of any video to a music file ready to add to your library. Of course the sound quality is not outstanding, but ¡a caballo regalado, no le mires el diente! (Never look a gift horse in the mouth).
If neither of these options work for you, you can always continue to use your American iTunes account, provided that you still use your American bank account that is linked to it. There is, of course, a Spanish iTunes store, but you’ll need a Spanish bank account in order to use it, and despite the near 1:1 exchange rate, the Euro is still stronger than the dollar, making the same music more expensive.
In Madrid, records are definitely back in, so for those of you who prefer an vintage, analog sound, it’s always possible to start (or continue) listening to music on vinyl. Although this is obviously not an economic solution, you may find that you prefer it, especially when coupled with other options mentioned above. Madrid has quite a few shops that sell new and used vinyl (FNAC, El Corte Inglés, La Metralleta, and Bajo El Volcán) as well as the possibility of buying online (Amazon among others). Anyone interested in vinyl will be thoroughly pleased with the selection available in Madrid.
Keep On Groovin’
Although some will always prefer to pay exorbitant prices at FNAC or Corte Inglés for CDs, the Internet has provided listeners with quite a few options to combat the greedy Spanish music industry. Madrid also has quite a few shops in the center that sell albums second-hand, and of course Madrid’s flea market — el Rastro — is always an option. Whichever way you decide to keep up on sounds, just be sure to keep on groovin’!