Ongoing History of New Music

Ongoing History Daily: The effect of streaming music

When streaming started to take off more than a decade ago, skeptics said it would never work. After more than a century of buying records, tapes, and CDs, who wanted to just “rent” music? The moment you stopped paying your monthly subscription, then your music collection would disappear. Crazy.

But that’s not what happened.

Instead, the entire record music industry depends on streaming today. Record labels now see 60, 70, even 80% of their revenue come from streaming and not the sales of physical product. Meanwhile, music fans now have access to pretty much the entirety of all the music recorded by humankind. At last count, we can access somewhere around 95 million tracks. Compare that to the old days when even the biggest record store stocked maybe 100,000 albums.

Access has trumped ownership.

Last post: Is loud music addictive?

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

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