How big is music streaming now? Let’s count the ways.

[This is my weekly column for GlobalNews.ca. – AC]

I’ve been feeling a little bummed out lately and not just because it’s winter.

We’ve been snowed under by bad news: COVID-19, railway blockades, Trump, climate change, Brexit. And if you’re not getting enough fear and bad news, a quick browse through The Drudge Report will fix that.

I also can’t shake the idea that we’re reaching a series of tipping points because of technology.

My cherished daily newspapers are getting thinner and thinner. Physical retail stores, including some that I’ve patronized for decades, are closing, the victims of online shopping. And I hate to admit it, but I’m complicit in the decline of bookstores — places where I once contentedly browsed for hours — because of my Kindle addiction.

Technological change may be moving faster today than at any other time in human history. Adapt or die, Luddite.

Few areas have been disrupted more by technology than the music industry. For a hundred years, it made untold billions selling pieces of plastic to the public. Record stores were everywhere. HMV was once so busy that it offered shopping baskets and carts to customers.

Then the internet came and the bottom fell out, leading to a life-and-death struggle that lasted more than a decade. CD sales cratered. Record stores closed. Thousands lost their jobs.

But then a funny thing happened. Streaming, a music delivery format that the industry once hated, rescued the whole thing.

Read the whole thing here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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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