Privacy-respecting and legal alternatives to streaming services

Nowadays, most music and films are only available on streaming services. These are proprietary and almost always have no respect for privacy (not too mention how many of them there are now).

In most countries, pirating music and films is against the law. I’m not sure if it would be considered more private anyway (though I’d imagine BTDigg and Soulseek aren’t collecting all your data).

This leaves me with a question: what would be the best way to access music and films, while having your privacy respected, and while following the law?

I think the most privacy respecting music streaming service is right now is Apple Music(what a shocker). You can use Apple Music with open source client (or the web version).
I recommend watching this Techlore video regarding music streaming services.: The MOST PRIVATE Music Streaming Options in 2022 - YouTube

Not sure about movies tho, since each stream service has their exclusives shows and movies (unlike music streaming services) and kinda have to subscribing to them all.

For music, you got options. idk about movies tho (cinemas also exist btw …)

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The best way is really to download a file and play it locally. With music it’s pretty easy, Bandcamp is great, but with Movies and TV it’s a lot tougher since they don’t really let you have the raw mp4 files usually because they really want to force DRM on you.


I don’t think Bandcamp has as large a catalogue as something like Apple Music, as much as I’d like to use it.

For films, or maybe music as well, would you consider piracy to be privacy-respecting? If it’s legal in your country, like Switzerland: Internet censorship in Switzerland - Wikipedia

In particular, would an open source torrent search engine like BTDigg, combined with an open source torrent client with encryption enabled, like Fragments on Linux or Transmission on other platforms, be a privacy-respecting option? Or Soulseek, with the open source client developed for it: Nicotine: GitHub - nicotine-plus/nicotine-plus: Graphical client for the Soulseek peer-to-peer network?

Piracy is theft, plain and simple. Stop encouraging it. OP specifically mentioned “pirating music and films is against the law”.

In Switzerland it isn’t against the law. And I am OP.

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I’ve stopped pirating games since I had actually income. I havent started the same with music and movies but I is doable. You can always buy DVD/BluRays in cash and rip your own copies and steam them via Jellyfin or Navidrome/Airsonic.

The problem is acquiring them. If you deliver physical stuff to your house, you will violate your own privacy. You can have them delivered to a PO box which is sort of okay. The government has your information anyway.

It isnt so simple as that. People have been buying ebooks via Kindle and Amazon yanks their legally bought copy out of their collection anyway for some reason. How do we correct this? Is it still piracy if people download their legally bought copy off The Bay?

Because many people agree that downloading or streaming pirated content is stealing/theft.

and also this

The notion that somehow entertainment is not valuable because it’s not as tangible as a car or a piece of clothing is both inaccurate and damaging. Even digital products contain “manufacturing” costs and, in the case of movies and TV shows, it’s the many years, the massive amount of high-tech equipment and the hundreds of skilled professionals it takes to make the content. The exchange of money for works, goods and services is an essential mechanism in market based economies and thus, if people access content via illegal sites, they are plainly and simply stealing.


Can you buy a Spotify gift card using cash, then create an account using a throwaway email address?

The legality aspect is an important one, but from a purely privacy-oriented point of view, are sites like the one you mentioned actually more private than streaming services?

They are after all closed source and full of ads, except for BTDigg that is.

I’m sure I could, but to be honest, I don’t want to support companies that collect your data, even if my use of the service is anonymous. And esoeically not with my money.

Not totally sure what you’re looking for then. Artists’ music is copyrighted. Streaming companies need to know that people/accounts are paying for the content. Artists deserve to make money from their work. So there needs to be some of transaction.

I think the gift card with a dummy email is your best bet. It’s legal, and fair to the artists who need to get paid.


I access it via Tor and use the maximum amount of safety that permits site functionality. Public trackers dont really require a login.

An alternative would be to use qbittorrent’s own built in torrent search feature but i dont use that particular client.

Before Bandcamp was bought by Epic, I rarely buy there. After it was bought by Epic, I really dont want to purchase there anymore

I have no problem with a transaction, but I’d like to make one with a company that doesn’t collect user data.

Then using Apple Music is the best option. It is far more private than the competition. You can use an open source client like Cider if you don’t want to use Apple’s music player. Also, you don’t need an iDevice to subscribe to Apple Music (and the pricing is competitive with Spotify specially if you are a student). You can purchase “Apple Gift Cards” that can be used with any Apple service, including Apple Music, as throwaway suggested.

I think they have to collect user data for payments and making sure the artists get paid for the songs you play.

You might be better of sticking to FM radio.

I’m going to switch to a Linux phone at some point soon, so for me, I think Spotify with Spot would be a better option. Are the privacy implications of using Spotify with Spot any worse than those of using Apple Music with Cider?

The clients don’t make much of a difference for privacy. It comes down to Apple Music vs Spotify.

Let just look at their privacy policy

First, Apple

Apple does not share personal data with third parties for their own marketing purposes.

Clear… straightforward… One sentence

Let us look at Spotify

To promote Spotify with our partners. We share certain User Data and Usage Data with these partners where necessary to:

enable you to participate in Spotify promotions, including trials or other bundled offers
to promote Spotify in media and advertising published on other online services
help us and our partners to measure the effectiveness of Spotify promotions

Examples of partners include:

marketing or sponsorship partners
websites and mobile apps who sell us advertising space on their services
device, app and mobile partners who also offer Spotify promotions

Our partners may also combine the personal data we share with them with other data they collect about you, e.g. your use of their services. We and our partners may use this information to present you with offers, promotions, or other marketing that we think you’ll find relevant.

Spotify clearly sells your data to 3rd party.

For me there is a clear privacy-friendly candidate. Ultimately, it is up to you and your threat assessment.

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Spotify clearly sells your data to 3rd party.

Not selling data to 3d parties is a rather negligible criterion for privacy. Its way more important which kinds and amounts of data are actually collected and how they are used.

The statement of not selling data to 3d parties is just a misleading advertising promise.

Its not possible to avoid the collection and analytic of data if you use any streaming service that requires an account.

You can only avoid linking those accounts with personal details by using gift cards as payment method. AFAIK this works for Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer.

imho I would rather completely avoid using such streaming services since you neither own the music nor you have control over the provided content.

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