Music streaming has replaced CDs.
Today I gave a lady in her 90s a CD of my recordings of older songs from the 1920s – 1950s. A couple years ago, I spent thousands of dollars of my own money to record a couple dozen songs so I’d be able to “sell CDs.”
Well, here’s the reality: CDs have been replaced by music streaming sites like Pandora and Spotify.
I remember when I visited Valerie Ell in New York City, and she had music on in her apartment. I liked the music mix and asked her what CD it was. She told me it was “Pandora.” You’d tell it an artist you like, and it would automatically curate a playlist of songs from the artist and artists like them. In essence, it’s the ultimate “online” jukebox.
And people are paying to stream music now. Not everybody– a lot get their music for free…but enough people are willing to spend a couple bucks a month to have full access, without advertising, in order to listen to a huge variety of music on their devices, like their iPhones and iPads.
My first CD was Fresh Prince and DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Homebase in 1991 or so. In the early 1990s, I bought a lot of CDs and cassette singles at stores in the mall. But, in the 2000s, everything changed. Cassettes pretty much disappeared, and CDs seemed to be the main way people bought music. However, along came Napster, and suddenly everyone and their brother could share their music libraries with each other, for free, online using their computer. The recording industry was still focused on trying to sell people $15 CDs…but the young people were like, “No thanks, we’ll get stuff free online.”
After Napster came iTunes. Suddenly it seemed like everyone who listened to music had an iPod and would download songs they wanted for 99 cents each from iTunes. Albums were not en vogue, but singles were. Why buy an album when you only like, want and need the hit single, right?
Fast forward to 2014. We no longer go to stores to browse shelves of CDs, noticing artwork. Nope. Instead, society has moved on to streaming services, where music is pretty much what I’d call “sonic wallpaper.” Sure, there are still great singers and bands “out there,” but sadly and strangely, it seems like the whole music industry has died and we’re left with lots of auto-tuned cartoon sex sounds passing as “music.”
So Pandora and Spotify and other services will deliver a plethora of music to the younger generations, and they’ll probably be replaced by something else in a couple years. For now, though, streaming has, for better or worse, replaced CDs as the way people consume their music.