Music Industry

There are 35 Million Songs That Can Be Streamed and No One Cares

It’s staggering to think that for ten bucks a month, we can have access to nearly the entire recorded music history of humankind. Every one of the streaming music services–Rdio, Spotify, Deezer, Apple Music and so on–have access to pretty much the same catalogue of digital songs which numbers somewhere around 35,000,000 tracks.

Think about that for a second: instant access to THIRTY-FIVE MILLION SONGS from wherever you are whenever the moment strikes you. That’s the stuff of science fiction.

Here’s the thing, though. No one cares.Well, almost no one.

According to Digital Music News (which numbers the available songs at 25 million, but no matter), 95% of the streaming catalogue is “irrelevant to consumers.” Yeah, the music is there, but they just don’t access it. Why? Because they don’t know about it, don’t care about it, don’t want to pay for full access to it, or can’t be arsed to search for what they don’t know they want.



It’s a classic case of “you can lead a horse to water.”  Just because the music is available–music that you may think is far, far superior to mainstream nonsense–it’s not what most people find interesting. There may be millions of us hardcore music fans, but there are BILLIONS of casual fans–and that’s never, ever going to change.


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 38458 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “There are 35 Million Songs That Can Be Streamed and No One Cares

  • That’s because it takes work. The other day I found some old CFNY charts from the late 70s and spent hours making a playlist in Apple music and I’m sill not close to satisfied. I will be eventually… and it was great to rediscover artists like the Tom Robinson Band that I had completely forgotten.

    In the old days I would do this when making a mix tape. Then I’d go for a drive and listen to hear if it worked. I’d do this a few times until I got it right and then I’d make a bunch of copies for my friends (never tape-to-tape, always straight form the source vinyl).

    The problem with now is there’s too much of everything… including curated playlists and algorithm playlists… that it just overwhelms. There’s also no easy way to share when I’m done, even with social media. I’m not talking about sharing with other music geeks but more casual music fans who always depended on people like me to broaden their horizons.

    Unfortunately, I think we’re a long way from solving this.

  • yes, once you finished your playlist (or mixtape) you can share with friends and people. And it seems that Apple Music will offer the possibility of a Share button for your playlist, Mr Cross announced it here.



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