Is music finished being disrupted by the digital universe? Not by a long shot. Read this.

The music industry has undergone tremendous disruption over the past two decades. Things were moving just fine with the traditional cultural gatekeepers until the Internet came along in the 90s. And then in June 1999, Napster was unleashed upon the world. Things haven’t been the same since.

All aspects of the music industry–nay, the entire entertainment industry–had to be remade. Some sectors are still being remade while others have been wiped from existence.

But things are cool now, right? We’ve all made the adjustments and we’ll be fine going forward. Not necessarily. has this article about future disruption.

The future is, for most, an increasingly scary place. Making future predictions is always a risky business. The famous futurist George Gilder, in the 1990s, predicted the death of television before the start of the 21st Century. A bold effort with a messy outcome for him. But all he really did was get the timing wrong – TV as we know it is rapidly changing and over the next decade will be unrecognisable from even the last ten years. No doubt about it. It is happening now.

So at the risk of getting the timing or other elements wrong, here are just some of my personal observations as to central elements in the digitally empowered future and the impact from just some of these change forces. This context from my digital wanderings and wonderings provides elements of policy challenge to all creativity and music specifically.

It offers a territory rich with paradox. Is it a potential empowered paradise or a descent into purgatory?

Let me commence the recital of core elements which I see:-

Keep reading, This is important.


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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