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Does the Rise of Streaming Mean the End of Record Collecting?


There will always be knobs like me who insist on acquiring and owning certain LPs, singles and CDs. But there will definitely be a reduction in the number of people who, like me, measure their music collection by the number of linear feet it requires.

However, I and my record-collecting friends have seen our collecting habits change. We’ve become more persnickety about what pieces of plastic we’ll purchase. We used to buy a ton of music sight-unseen, by being attracted to the artwork, by the reputation of the label or on the basis of some review we read somewhere.

Instead, we use streaming to audition those new tracks and albums. If we really, really like what we hear, we’ll buy it. Otherwise, we’ll move on. The net result is that we’re collecting less but more carefully and judiciously. What The Wife once considering hoarding has now softened into an understanding of collecting.

Variety looks at the impact of streaming on record collecting.

Amazon, the company that has made billions selling you tons of stuff, would like you to stop hoarding … digital music, that is. The company made as much clear when it recently announced the phase-out of its cloud music locker, which had allowed consumers to upload their own MP3s and then stream them to phones, Echo speakers, and other connected devices.

Amazon previously allowed consumers to upload up to 250 MP3s for free, but announced this past week that it was ending this program effective immediately. Consumers who have paid the company to upload up to 250,000 songs will be able to keep using it until their subscription expires, with the last plans scheduled to be phased out in January of 2019.

The e-commerce retailer is thus far alone with this step, as both Google and Apple still offer similar music lockers. However, considering the bigger picture, it’s easy to see Amazon’s decision not as an outlier, but a sign of things to come. Music collections, long the cornerstone of a fan-based music business, are slowly being replaced by music consumption. And there’s simply no room for your 10,000 meticulously tagged MP3s in a world of an always-available 40 million songs.

Keep reading.

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 37921 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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