Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Streaming music: ownership and beyond

I've talked about music and streaming in the past on this blog, but I haven't come close to talking about all the important issues. Today, NPR posted the first article in a series about how streaming music is changing music today, both in the way we listen to music and the music industries themselves. I'm looking forward to reading more about their insights.

One of the big points of today's article is ownership:
"For a large part of the recording industry, the move to embrace streaming actually solves a long-time paradox: one of ownership...Streaming, at least the label-sanctioned version, puts the genie back in the bottle. Every time you click play on a streaming service, from Pandora to YouTube to Spotify, you're licensing the right to listen to the song in that particular moment, whether you pay a subscription or sit through an ad. Ownership is never even an option."
The idea of ownership is important to libraries, which were founded on the idea that because they buy media, they in turn can loan it out. Streaming is a problem for libraries, because even if libraries are allowed to subscribe to streaming services (which is unusual), they still don't own and so can't preserve the media; and we know from experience that media producers aren't very good at preserving their own collections. It is also more expensive for libraries to subscribe to big streaming databases year after year (though they may be given access to a wider selection). The move toward more streaming will cause, and indeed has already caused, some big problems in terms of preservation and access now and in the future.

I also liked the following list of questions from the article, questions that still need to be answered about people's behavior in the face of music streaming:
“Do we listen differently when we have unlimited options? Does the rise of the streaming service eliminate the very need for a library of one's own, or does it just change how we acquire and interact with that library? Do your musical preferences belong to you? What role do listeners play in ensuring the life of music and the livelihood of musicians?”
These are all questions that would warrant at least a blog post, if not a book. Perhaps we'll learn more about these later in NPR's series.

No comments:

Post a Comment