Another excellent question: What comes after streaming?

When CDs first appeared in late 1982, many people believed that we reached the end of the line when it comes to music formats. How could the CD possibly be improved?

Well, it was. DVDs had greater capacity, meaning more content and potentially better-sounding audio. Then came Blu-rays which were even better.

There were a couple of attempts to market something allegedly better than the CD. MiniDiscs. DAT (digital audio tape). DCC (digital compact cassette). DataPlay (don’t ask).

In the end, though, everything was eclipsed by the convenience and portability of digital files: MP3s and AAC for phones, FLAC and other lossless formats for the audiophile.

And then came streaming with its instant access to tens of millions of songs. That’s gotta be the end of the line, right? I mean, what could possibly be better than streaming?

Scott Cohen is a music industry futurologist. He maintains that every ten years or so, something comes along to kill the music industry–or at least wound it enough so that it’s forced to chance direction.

So what’s beyond streaming? The answers may be found in the tech world. This is from Forbes.

“Artificial Intelligence (AI) was a key trend for Cohen. ‘AI is something that our business relies on today for organization, recommendation and search. There are 20,000 new tracks uploaded to Spotify every day, do you seriously think that humans are listening to every track and categorizing them?’

“The overlap of big data and AI has resulted in the death of the music genre as a marketing concept, he continued. “‘earching by genre doesn’t exist anymore. New Music Friday or your Daily Mix on Spotify are not genres. Tracks get into your AI-driven playlists because they are good. The biggest iTunes track of 2017 was Despacito, one of 2018’s biggest acts was BTS from South Korea, they had two albums debut at #1 on the Billboard 200. In the genre-driven world, these would have just been labeled World Music.’”

Read more here and here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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