Apple Has Finally Figured Out That People Aren’t Buying Music As Much

There will always–always–be people who will want to own music, me included. If it’s an act or a song that I want to have with me forever, I’ll buy it. But for everything else, I’m happy to rent it.

Apple knows we’re rapidly moving from possession to access. Vox takes a look at this revelation.

Apple’s decision to create a new streaming service called Apple Music is a recognition of just how much the music business has changed over the past decade. A decade ago, it was widely assumed that people would build collections of digital music just as they previously built collections of records and CDs. Apple was at the forefront of that change, with Steve Jobs convincing record labels to sell their songs for just 99 cents.

But we now know that this whole way of thinking about the music business was wrong. Customers don’t want to buy music, and they don’t want to build music collections. Smartphones allow something much better: services that allow unlimited streaming of millions of songs. These services are rendering traditional music ownership obsolete.

A decade ago, the iPod and iTunes seemed like the wave of the future. But it’s now clear that they were just an awkward transitional stage between the physical formats of the 20th century and the streaming media services that will dominate in the future.

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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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