News Response #9

Article Discussed: In Music’s New Era, Streaming Rules, But Human Factors Endure

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This article, published three days ago, starts its explanation of the current state of the music industry: ‘the era of streaming.’ Now, the industry’s leading revenue source has shifted to streaming from file downloads whose peak was in 2012 “when revenue mostly from iTunes had surpassed that of CDs.” Interestingly, the article says that in the midst of downloads’ peak, there was also the growth of streaming services detected by its revenue surpassing digital radio’s. That growth soon led to streaming’s most powerful position in the music market from 2016. Spotify, YouTube, Google Play, and Apple Music are the currently representative music streaming providers. In my case, I never bought a CD and only saw my parents buying CD albums of their favorite singers, including ABBA, when I was young. When I was a teen, I listened to music on my iPod full of the downloads from iTunes. And since I got my first smartphone in my freshman year, I have listened to music on the music streaming app, such as Spotify and Apple Music.

However, the author of the article highlights ‘human factor’ in the music market as the main subject. He refers to radio and physical music products like CD as the human factor. For the unchanging value of CD, he argues that while the majority like to listen to music by streaming these days, there are still those who prefer to possess music in the material form. Despite the drop in the revenues of CDs, their pace of drop is not dramatic. The fixed demand for physical music products is shown, for example, in the ‘resurgence of vinyl LPs’ he brought up. According to him, it is known that LPs maintain secure sales after the noticeable resurgence. The nostalgia for the analog music appreciation steadily remain in the market today. When I thought about the reason of such a nostalgia, I came up with the value of sensual recollection of the past. LP records, CD players, and MP3 players are thumb-marked objects whenever people listen to the music on them. I slightly assume that those in this nostalgia would have an attachment to their individual moments or episodes during listening to music. They might have some precious, unforgettable personal stories related to those moments. At the same time, I also become curious about whether downloaded or streamed music tracks could be part of today’s people’s nostalgia decades later.