How Unlimited Data Storage Made Content (Like Music) Worthless

How’s that for a headline? It’s part of a story in The Guardian on what they called “the iPod effect.”

Choice is good. But unlimited choice is changing our appreciation of what it takes to create material with quality.

It may seem trivial on the surface. But in a world of 69p apps and freemium gaming goliaths, it’s already hard for creators to carve their way outside a commodity perception. If we continue to cultivate a society where even the most crafted and artisan digital items are throwaway flash sale detritus, how can we expect to continue enjoying the talented minds that create them?

Some recognise this and break free, most notably in the area of music. Here, there’s a relatively low ceiling for storage requirements and therefore it’s still the most easy commodity to hoard en masse. The ins and outs of this were recently summed up by legendary recording engineer Steve Albini.

As a result, you see more and more musicians abandon the idea of making real money from their digital music and instead refocus around live performance and merchandise. Or if you’re lucky like Taylor Swift, you can opt out altogether.

It’s time to stop all this. I’d say 16GB is fine – but that’s not really the point. This is a matter of apathy toward art, where technology’s elimination of cost has damaged our perception of value by collateral damage.

Makes you think, doesn’t it? Read the whole story 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.

Alan Cross has 38562 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “How Unlimited Data Storage Made Content (Like Music) Worthless

  • I think you may have a point but than again there is a need for expansion on the current models of music distribution. In the 80’s it was the recording stereos where you can tape your records directly onto tape cassettes and play them in your Walkman or make a mix cassette for the person your shagging… and the Recording industry was complaining then that they were going to be ruined by this new technology. But in the long run, Phil Collins still had a cool studio and Heuy Lewis and the News still had new Drugs… So what is different perhaps is in the reasonable distribution of music. I did a great interview with Hunter Valentine at CMW a couple years ago, and the model for bands is to raise their own fan based via YouTube and playing at Bars and than shop around for record companies. The technology we have is not the problem it’s our cognitive way of thinking of the new technology that needs to change… I welcome new bands, new sounds, new styles… But I must admit the selection is overwhelming but than again so is our population so is just makes sense that the selection will be widened and more accessible. I believe it will level out at some point and the crappy bands will be forgotten cuz nothing is more impressive than hearing a recording and then hearing the band in concert sound better than the recording… Awesome feeling… But limiting the amount of storage may not be a good thing… it may limit expansion and creativity?


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