Well that’s done but it couldn’t have been done without the music or The future is Streaming!

20,000 words, an exam and oral presentation and this academic year is done! Maybe just as significant is the amount of music listened too.

Day after day, Spotify has continued to provide a seemingly endless stream of music, supported by Pandora and my substantial iTunes library.

Through this year many of my posts have highlighted a new love of country, a revisiting of Dylan, and how music has been an integral part of my day.

I have since my late primary school days had an insatiable desire to buy Singles, LPs, and CDs. That is until now.

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My purchasing habit led to a brief foray into importing records. For a couple of years a close friend of mine and I started to import records for our friends, less for profit and more to bring down the price of our own purchases. It lasted until the local post office told us that we would be considered a business if we continued,

given our order of just over 500 LPs. Form memory this meant about 20 free LPs for my friend and I!

My passion for purchases continued and at one stage a former girlfriend bet that I could not go 3 months without buying a record. My prize if I got there was a record. I did, only just and she duly bought me Jessi Coulter’ s Diamond in the Rough.

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Then it was back to buying records on a regular basis. Every Week as the new releases came out I was at my local record shop, then CD shop, and more recently Amazon? I also found myself filling in collections of artists I’d discovered well into their recording careers or just overlooked. For example, I bought my first Leonard Cohen and Pink Floyd CDs in the early 2000s. This year however it’s been just 2 CDs purchased.

For me the debate is over. As much as mega artists such as the supremely talented Taylor Swift or the ever relevant Beatles may be able to dictate terms and not provide their music to the likes of Spotify, they are true outliers. The future is not in CDs but in streaming.

To emphasize the point, I have lost count of the times I have listened to Hot August Night, Four Way Street, Blood on the Tracks, Blonde on Blonde, Born to Run, Court and Spark on Spotify, eventhough I own each of them on vinyl and CD. It’s just easier. Renting music and access to an unlimited digital catalogue have been the obvious answer since Napster. It’s been about getting the business model right.

A model that creates and captures value for all of the people involved. One that rewards the artist, the service provider and delivers value to the customer. It is not fair to rip off the consumer by charging too much (a longstanding problem for Australian customers). This only serves to provide an incentive to pirate where apparently Australians are apparently the undisputed champions .. Equally so it’s not fair that the artist and provider do not get their fair share.

I don’t subscribe to the industry argument that pirating is the end of the music industry. That view simply seeks to blame the user and to reinforce a model that has served the industry in the past but no longer does. There is mounting evidence that alternatives exist and consumers will pay for it. There is much more to it than this.

For example, a recent survey of radio in Australia showed the narrowness of music played.. Today it seems music is governed by TV programs very much designed to produce an homogenized output. There is no room for experimentation from the artist who may well have considerable talent but is not allowed to try something new? Perhaps it’s not that music can be downloaded for free that is the problem but maybe the music isn’t good enough or sufficiently varied to capture our attention.

The industry needs to determine how to respond. The traditional business model, has to use the vernacular, been disrupted and the model has changed forever. The music companies, artists, and consumer need to adapt. After all I have after the best part of 50 years of buying records and CDs but I simply don’t anymore. Sure not everything is available to stream and so there is always iTunes. Today I went to iTunes and bought

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I am more than happy to pay my monthly subscription for Spotify and more, to the point I’d happily pay 2 or 3 times the amount quite happily to listen to whatever I wanted whenever I wanted, even if I already own it. I am also happy to have iTunes Match which at a modest fee makes my music available to me on all my devices and gives me access to iTunes Radio.

Streaming offers the opportunity to listen to all my favourites as well as to a vast array of music not previously considered. As I have gone about my 20,000 words this year I have moved between my staple of contemporary (Springsteen, Tori Amos, Dylan) to classical music and a new passion of country.

Streaming provides a chance to listen to music that may never have before been on my horizon simply by clicking on someone else’s playlist or the “radio button”.

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