The behavior of the discerning music listener is pretty unpredictable and has changed a lot alongside technology improvements over the years. We’ve gone from vinyl to tape; to CD; and back to Vinyl again. Will the tape make a glorious comeback? Probably not. But one thing that’s proven endlessly popular over recent years is the use of online streaming services, both for viewing and listening entertainment.
Paid subscription services like Spotify and Apple Music are an excellent way to stream and download all types of music – new and old – without having to purchase the individual works of each artist. Websites like SoundCloud, MixCloud and YouTube are all equally as useful when it comes to sharing and digesting music, as well as listening to amateur and professional releases.
But a lot of these services, although available everywhere, use region locks to adhere to their licensing agreements. Sure, it’s understandable. If they’ve negotiated terms with an artist to make their content region specific, then they must adhere to those terms. But what does this mean for you – the paid user? It hardly seems reasonable that as someone who pays for a service, not all music is available to you. This isn’t something that I’ve ever encountered personally, but it’s a big issue for some who can’t check out their favorite artists, or those that Spotify says are similar to them. There are ways around this, though. And the way to get around it comes with a lot of extra perks in the process.
How To Get Around Region Locks
A decent VPN (virtual private network) is the crux of cyber security for both businesses and personal users. It’s a well-oiled machine, there to protect you, and to widen your otherwise linear browsing capabilities. Connecting to your service’s private networks over your public connection has many far-reaching benefits, the most important one being online anonymity. It spoofs your computer into thinking that you’re positioned in the same location as the server you’re connected to. That, and it also prevents your ISP – and most hackers – from being able to monitor and document your online activity. In the case of hackers, your personal life can be used against you – whether that’s personal photos or bank details – so it’s especially important to choose a service you can trust.
A VPN is needed by all businesses, but it’s much more essential for larger ones. Company material is sensitive. If resources that provide their competitive edge are stolen, or their corporate banking information, then this could be disastrous. Global businesses often employ mobile workers, who might work from home or be in-and-out of hotels. Connection to these public networks can be a way in for anyone looking for one. However, putting all this traffic through VPNs would cause serious issues on bandwidth, so many will use a method called ‘split tunneling’.
The benefit isn’t just privacy, though - far from it. Spoofing your device into thinking you’re in another country means you’re able to access their region-specific content. Keeping in mind music services like Spotify or Apple Music, these region locks are no longer an issue when you adjust your location to somewhere else either.
A Few of The Best VPNs Available
Often considered the most reliable service out there, ExpressVPN is an ideal choice for those looking to defy region locks promptly and securely. Because it’s based in the British Virgin Islands, a location without any data-retention laws, users needn’t worry about their data or activity being traced. With a powerful 256-bit AES encryption – along with DNS-leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and split tunneling – users can stream and download anything without worrying about prying eyes.
It offers access to more than 2000 servers based around the world, complete with unlimited bandwidth and zero throttling. And like the others, it also comes with an easy-to-use interface across all devices and platforms.
Cost: 1 Month - $12.95 (billed monthly) / 6 Months - $59.95 (billed every six months) / 12 Months - $99.95 (billed annually)
VyprVPN is easily one of the most powerful services out there. Not just that, but it’s one of the most secure ones, too. By only using its own network and hardware – which means it’s not buying server space from third parties, for example – they’re able to offer a level of protection which a lot of other services can’t. It employs a 256-bit encryption, an exclusive zero-knowledge DNS feature, and it also offers multiple protocols for encryption.
In terms of performance, users have unlimited access, and switching between more than 700 servers based worldwide is a breeze. Plus, it combats throttling from your ISP to ensure unrestricted Internet speeds.
Cost: Basic Plan - $60.00 (billed annually) / Premium Plan - $80.00 (billed annually)
NordVPN is a household name in the VPN industry – partly due to its military-grade encryption, CyberSec and Double VPN protection. Like the others, it comes with advanced DNS-leak protection, an automatic kill switch, and a strict no logs policy. But Nord also provides the combined benefit of a VPN with the Onion Router to ensure maximum online security.
It measures up highly on performance too, with over 4000 servers in over 60 countries to choose from; without any caps on switching. Its integrated SmartPlay technology creates fast, secure, throttle-free streaming without compromising your online security. NordVPN also welcomes with P2P sharing, with servers that are optimized for those looking to share content quickly.
Cost: 1 Month - $11.95 (billed monthly) / 12 Months - $69.00 (billed annually) / 24 Months - $79.00 (billed every 24 months)