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26 July 2016

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Good insights, Stephen. I'm one of the last holdouts for streaming subscriptions, except, of course, for Hearts of Space, which I joined at its inception. My 39-year-old daughter swears by her I-phone music service, whatever it is, though, and has her little Bluetooth speaker playing away from one of her services on her phone. I've just always chosen to be my own DJ, realizing, of course, that it takes some work to always have good music ready (another reason I love HOS....).

Since musicians aren't getting paid as much, overall, how does this effect the overall business of music?

Is it going to be, or is it already, all performance based?

Personally, i have rebuild my 160GB click wheel iPod, and am able to travel and work with my entire music library, which grows weekly.

I still buy music, and of course, share music with my friends. Just like we always did.

I personally hate iTunes and have tried a number of different players, but almost always end up back to iTunes. Still hate it, but it is dominant.

Nice article Doctor.

Good questions, Dean. Unfortunately, the answers are complicated and to some extent, still under development.

There are many different classes of musicians, from well-known superstars to bedroom hobbyists. Since the 1970's and the arrival of personal studios and cheap publishing on cassette, all of them were able to participate in the music sales economy to one degree or another. The way the various classes have been affected by digital — first by piracy and now by streaming — vary widely. The stars do fine, mostly, and the others have to adapt, depending on how much declining sales income affects their total economy.

If the artist is a strong and effective live performer, they are probably already getting most of their income this way. If not, they may have to put more emphasis on live, which obviously has its own challenges. But it is not written on stone tablets that musicians should be able to make a sustainable income solely from their recordings. In fact, in the long history of music, recordings are a short blip of less than a hundred years. For centuries, live performance was the main way musicians survived.

Today, services like Google Play Music, Spotify, and Apple Music allow you to "match" your existing music collection and upload any items that don't match to a personal "locker" in the cloud, as well as offer you streaming access to almost everything else and to new releases going forward.

Essentially, you create a cloud backup of your collection which can be streamed to any device wherever you have an internet connection. This effectively secures your music collection and means you can lose your iPod and not have to worry about losing any of your personal data. If you live off the grid, then having a collection of digital music files is important; if you always or almost always have an internet connection, it's not really necessary to own the files anymore.

On the major services, sharing music with family members is easy and relatively cheap. Casual sharing with friends is also easy if they are also on one of the big streaming services, especially if they are on the same one as you. If not, you can only recommend via linking to the source, or to one of the many free alternatives. Like I said, it's complicated.

:: SH

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