Music Industry

There is officially TOO MUCH MUSIC out there. Here’s proof.

In the old days of physical music formats — CDs, vinyl, tapes — a collection was considered big if you had more than 100 of anything. Completists and obsessives might have upwards of a thousand or so records. If this sounds like you, I’ll bet that you knew the title of every song you owned and were familiar with each album on the shelf.

Record stores were wondrous places, too. The biggest ones — think Sam the Record Man on Yonge Street in Toronto or any of the HMV superstores in major cities around the world — might stock 100,000 titles or more. A full browse of the shelves took days.

Very impressive. But then came the era of streaming platforms (Digital Service Providers or DSPs) like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and all the others. Suddenly, artists didn’t need a record label to get their music out to the world. For a very modest fee (or free for new artists), companies like TuneCore, DistroKid, CD Baby, and United Masters will see that any musician anywhere on the planet is uploaded to all the libraries used by the world’s music streamers. Hit “enter” and a song is available globally.

Music distribution had been democratized. Artists were in charge of their own destinies and not beholden to some record company. Great, right?

Well, hang on sunshine. What we have now is too much music. WAY too much. Let’s look at some numbers.

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 38159 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “There is officially TOO MUCH MUSIC out there. Here’s proof.

  • I used to spend hours in A&B Sound and Sam The Record Man on Seymour Street in Vancouver, as well as any other music shops that I could find. I miss wandering through the stacks of albums and dreaming of that too expensive for me stereo system that sounded just perfect.

    I listen to knew music whenever I can (not bad for a 52 year old!), but there is just too much to absorb and classify. Most new stuff won’t ever be heard by me again, unless it is a legacy band.

    We are saturated, and I think that is why vinyl and CD’s are coming back, the nostalgia of the music store instead of a millennia worth of music in the streaming world.


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