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A Lark Ascending

Is streaming technology saving the music industry?

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Or Jane Austen's Emma who kept a list of every book she was going to read,,,

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Or the woman in Camus' L'étranger who underlines in the magazine the radio programmes she intends to listen to in the coming week.

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I guess it could almost become like bird watching, where you keep a notebook or journal to keep a record of what you have streamed. You could note dates and how many times you've listened (some of you may already do this!). So, even though you're no longer adding to your collection, you still have a physical record in your hand of your aural adventures. I actually recall that i was doing this for a while with books that i was borrowing from the library, keeping a record of what i had read.

Reading this, I was reminded of Art Garfunkel, who has kept a list of every book he's read since 1968:

http://www.artgarfunkel.com/library/list1.html

Interesting! I haven't followed his music but it must be fascinating for fans to see what he was reading around the time that he recorded such and such album or such and such thing was happening in his life.

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In Sweden, streaming is indeed saving the music industry. According to figures that were made public recently, digital sales accounted for 79 percent of the revenue during 2013, and 75 out of those 79 were generated from streaming; only 4 percent from downloading. Total revenue for the (Swedish) music industry has grown rapidly for the last few years and now seems to be at the same level as about ten years ago.

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Or you can scrobble using LastFM and it will keep track of everything you play in Spotify, iTunes, VLC and a host of other services/programs that they support. I've been using it since 2009 and it offers a really interesting way to see how my listening habits have been over that time frame.

http://www.last.fm

Edited by Shawn

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An interesting observation here on the format wars debate.

I'm a hardcore downloader who has only ever missed the large 12 inch covers of the LP era I grew up in; and who has only felt mildly inconvenienced by the lack of liner notes with downloads.

But I get what Ian Anderson is saying here:

In truth probably no different from rock fans or classical music lovers, the first thing you did when you were invited to a new person’s home – or later in my case, got put up by club organisers or their friends when travelling the country as a musician – was make a bee-line for their record collections and bookshelves. You often spotted something you’d never heard, or even heard of, and they might then take delight in introducing you to it...

But maybe it’s simpler than that. In these days of too much domestic stuff and of music being devalued, the iPod dock or the streaming site are often now the only music in the house. When you get invited to somebody’s home, it’s not really the done thing to rifle through your host’s laptop and, anyway, all mp3s look the same. What are the chances, as a young English folk player, of you stumbling across something fascinating looking, like Skip James, or the Bauls Of Bengal, Charlie Mingus – or even Harry Cox?

http://www.frootsmag.com/content/issue/edsbox/

Anderson is a bit of a physical product Romantic. But I think he has a point here.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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So this guy thinks that it is harder to find out about and hear music than in the past.

In fact people can just copy their mp3 collection for you, browse it at will. The streaming services have quite a few things to listen to and enable the exchange of playlists.

I could go on.

Got to go - getting in to Skip James now - about fifteen albums to get through...

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What's it going to do to houses designed to hold things when there's less and less things for them to hold, and what's it going to mean to city planning and residential development paradigms when more and more people can live in more concentrated areas because they need smaller and smaller places because the have less and less stuff..or when they choose to be more isolated because the high tech equivalent of a tent with an outhouse will be just fine, and maybe give better views, at least. What would you do if all your shelves and cabinets and desks were no longer needed, what would that do to the look and feel of your house? Would you still want to live in it, or would it begin to seem like a place where old lives used to be lived in old ways by people who no longer live like that?

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I hate having old stuff lying around. Wish I could get rid of it all.

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Back in the olden days we used to march around with albums under our arms, almost as tribal signifiers. I can still remember the 'what is that?' curiosity. Today kids will have an phone or iPod in their pocket. Though I'm sure they have other ways of communicating their musical interests (tee-shirts?).

Yes, there are a zillion more ways of swapping enthusiasm with the web. This site is an example.

But I recognise that sense of curiosity and excitement when going into a friend's house and seeing a shelf of LP spines.

It's pure Romanticism, of course. But most of our record collecting is based on Romanticism rather than logic.

Anderson, by the way, is one of the good guys. Opinionated, crotchety, quick to take offence....but he's up there with the Gilletts, Peels and Kershaws when it comes to constantly championing the marginal, up-and-coming, off-the-map. A major player in championing 'world music' in a resistant English folk music world in the 70s and 80s. He doesn't have a lot of time for jazz though!

Oddly, despite his feeling that it is harder to get diversity across, he's done more than most to make it accessible - through concert programming, his mag, the regular free discs (now downloads) and the froots radio broadcasts he puts out monthly.

http://www.frootsmag.com/radio/playlists/15/05/

He's a doer, not just an internet grumbler.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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I hate having old stuff lying around. Wish I could get rid of it all.

Wow! It's like I was typing that, yet my fingers weren't moving.

Please! Less stuff and less storage! I like open spaces.

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The board has been invaded by Maoists.

cultural_revolution.png

Sweep away the clutter of the past. Forward to the New Order, free of stuff.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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I think it was John Le Mesurier, amongst others, who said you could tell a person's character or whether you would take to them from their record collection and library. Well, at least you would have a talking point to bounce-off. The digital arena lacks this - the lack of an instant dashboard, almost, you can always check-out their ipad or laptop controlling it all, if they will give it to you!

Edited by ArtSalt

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I'd say our record collections are a bit like how we vote in elections - it tells others more about what we want to be rather than what we are.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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There's a cool screen saver on Macs that's a tile representation of the covers in your iTunes library. That goes a little way towards showing people what you have.

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What's it going to do to houses designed to hold things when there's less and less things for them to hold, and what's it going to mean to city planning and residential development paradigms when more and more people can live in more concentrated areas because they need smaller and smaller places because the have less and less stuff..or when they choose to be more isolated because the high tech equivalent of a tent with an outhouse will be just fine, and maybe give better views, at least. What would you do if all your shelves and cabinets and desks were no longer needed, what would that do to the look and feel of your house? Would you still want to live in it, or would it begin to seem like a place where old lives used to be lived in old ways by people who no longer live like that?

Increasing densification of housing is the wet dream of the New Urbanists. To them, single-family dwellings in suburban areas (or areas that used to be suburban) are the misbegotten poster children for the evils of Sprawl. Those who aren't on board with this line of thinking are to be roundly shamed.

Another data point that overlaps with this somewhat like a Venn diagram: the tiny house movement.

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Another issue being that owning a big house is a shit ton of work.

Our place is 2700 sq. ft. Just keeping the fucking thing clean is damn near a full time job. My wife and I agreed many years ago if we ever moved, we'd never get something this big again.

Edited by Scott Dolan

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Interesting. Most people i know with big houses don't have big record or book or DVD or whatever else is being supplanted by digital collections. So i don't see that particular correlation. Still, i can see the trend for being less materialistic happening, but i don't see everyone moving in to Japanese style capsule hotels due to streaming just yet.

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I have a small house yet it seems to take forever to clean - can't imagine coping with a big house. As a result, I have to buy lots of recordings to take my mind off the drudgery. I wouldn't bother otherwise.

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Most people i know with big houses don't have big record or book or DVD or whatever else is being supplanted by digital collections. So i don't see that particular correlation.

It's possible that they have big houses because they *haven't* spent a large chunk of their income on amassing large record/book/movie collections.

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Its the same with book collections. I used to work as a buyer for a used book store, and did an occassioal house buy. The hoarding that goes on is astonishing. Always in small old homes or apartments.

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As a former bookstore worker and record store clerk, I've found that the collection I used to have weighed so much that I absolutely had to sell a *lot* of my LPs in order to be able to afford a long-distance move, and looking at things now, over 10 years later, there will have to be another sell-off.

I love e-readers, partly because they allow me to have books I don't feel that physically attached to near at hand, while saving shelf space for the things I truly want to hang onto.

As for streaming services, I subscribe to Rdio.com, which recently upped their bitrate to 320 as well as 192, depending on the amount of bandwidth one wants to use. (But those features are available to subscribers only.) Because their site is set up to allow for label searches, it's possible to go through the entire catalog of any given label that licenses to them. I've found a metric ton of interesting - often terrific - albums from all over the place, in many genres (from obscure Scandinavian classical music to African, Arabic and Brazilian music that is almost impossible to find in CD form, or LP, for that matter). I like Rdio much better than Spotify, because their search engine and search criteria are so much more versatile, and also because it's easier to read (black text on white background, etc.). However Spotify often has albums that Rdio doesn't, and vice versa, so I use them both.

Edited by seeline

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