This is a bit nerdy, but if you’re as fascinated as I am about how quickly and radically the music industry is changing, you’ll find this article from TechCrunch illuminating.
The music business is about to undergo another seismic shift. And Apple’s streaming service is the tsunami that will force the industry to rebuild. Again.
It was around 2005 when I joined Warner Bros. Records as their new head of technology. I was the 20-something-year-old kid who was supposed to have every answer about all things digital. I remember distinctly the first record I worked on. Not because the record was special to me personally (it wasn’t), but because that was when I began to understand how a “record” was viewed by the record labels and the industry.
Back in the day, two things drove music sales: the record itself and the story that publicists told about the record. There was no iTunes pre-sales or bundling the album with new Samsung phones. Everything depended on first-week sales and chart position, as well as how the record rose or fell during the second week. It was a totally anonymous process. Even the record store owners had no idea who was buying. It was a simple transaction reported to SoundScan.