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Do you still buy MP3s? You might want to read this.

My iTunes library is bulging with about 80,000 tracks with some 4,500 of those being purchases from the iTunes Music Store. And even with the rise of streaming, I’m still buying from iTunes. Why? Three reasons:

The first is admittedly unusual. My job requires me to acquire music for use in radio programs. The only way to do that is through buying CDs (increasingly less so), acquiring vinyl (fiddly, since I have to convert them to digital files in real time) or purchasing digital files (easily the most convenient.)

Secondly, I know that buying music is a better deal for artists. They make more money on CDs, vinyl, and digital files than they do from streaming.

The final reason I still buy music is that I’m often overwhelmed with the sheer amount of music out there. There’s something to be said for tight, personally curated library of music that I can go back to again and again for further enjoyment, analysis, and study. Unlike the unlimited never-ending firehose of music streams, it’s nice to have something manageable and understandable.

I guess there’s a fourth reason, too. It’s a habit. I’ve bought music all my life and I just can’t seem to stop.

But let’s circle around back to the idea of digital files. Do we actually own these things? Er, no.

“What?” I can hear you say. “I PAID for the goddam things. How can you say I don’t own that music?”

It’s…strange and somewhat counterintuitive. That’s why you should read this story from TNW. You might be surprised at what could happen to your iTunes tunes.

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.

Alan Cross has 38319 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

4 thoughts on “Do you still buy MP3s? You might want to read this.

  • This is a misleading article. The linked article talks about losing movies, not MP3s. MP3s don’t have DRM like the movies do and so you don’t need to use iTunes to play them. Thus you could move or copy them away from iTunes so they never get deleted. I’m not sure iTunes would even do that with music since it is licensed differently.

  • Wasn’t there a court case a few years ago when a celebrity wanted to leave his iTunes library to someone in his will but it was determined that he couldn’t because he didn’t “own” the files?

    • It was Bruce Willis

  • Please don’t use MP3 files on your radio show. When the lossy MP3 compression gets re-compressed for streaming, podcast, satellite or HD radio, it sounds horrible. Use WAV, FLAC, vinyl, whatever is not compressed.


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