I used to like owning music. Truth be told I still do. I still download songs, albeit mostly now after I’ve listened to the album they originated from on Spotify, and being an ex muso geek I even edit them to get them exactly the way i like – fade-outs, fade-ins eq fixes etc. That’s one of the many reasons why i hate Apple iTunes but that’s not a debate for here. The fact is I spent years building a collection in vinyl, cassette, CD and now digital but through it all it was mine; to do with as I saw fit.
However it seems that music ownership is going the way of the dinosaur. Global revenues from streaming music services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio will grow almost five times faster than revenues from downloads over the course of this year, according to a new forecast from Strategy Analytics. The research firm predicts that streaming will bring in $1.1 billion in 2012 compared to $3.9 billion from downloads, with overall digital revenues expected to overtake those of physical music in 2015.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the whole scarcity and abundance theories and how the recorded music is just becoming a another vehicle through which fans connect with the artist or band but to me its still important. Live performance is indeed the true “scarcity” and therefore often the most valued experience but I don’t get to see every band I want to play live and in some cases I don’t even want to – I just love the track(s) and that’s enough. I made a choice many years ago to posses the music I loved and despite all the advances in streaming technologies and services, I find it hard to place my enjoyment in the hands of an intermediary – what happens if Spotify falls out with a particular record company and I loose my treasured playlist.
And by the way, there’s a reason the title of this post used the word “buy”. I’m pretty sure I’m also one of a dwindling band of consumers who still buy their music.