Assuming the Spotify (and Pandora) business models can survive -- I think both have lost gobs of
money so far, but so has Amazon and it's a darling of the media and Wall Street -- it is the largest
threat to FM and satellite radio. The record companies have already carved out royalty agreements
with both services, and I would bet that listening to streaming choice-driven on-demand music leads
to some music purchases. It definitely does that for me, Pandora has directly led me to several
somewhat obscure modern funk-revival players, just as one example.
I always thought satellite radio was dumb, and having a year trial in a new GM vehicle proved the
point to me. It's no better than mediocre FM, and why pay for it if you have a decently-loaded iPod?
AM radio will survive with talk-casting. FM is an interesting thing. Some of the stations have been
gotten for chump chainge (not by the big chains, which are likely never to see a good return on
ridicu-prices paid in the 90s), and can easily be programmed up with syndicated talk stuff or
whatever off-the-shelf filler the owner wants to string between commercials. Enough people will
listen to it as background that local advertisers will get a return on their investment. A few
"craft brew" FM stations will always survive, often affiliated with college campuses and carrying a
lot of pre-made content from NPR.
Now that you don't have to have a Facebook account to sign in to Spotify, and now that you don't
have to pay to use it, I plan to try it. Pandora's problem is too limited a selection of music for
all-day listening, and you can't reject enough bad choices per hour. However, my hat is off to
Pandora for coming up with some very clever audio-transmission technology and providing decent sound
quality (better than satellite radio for sure) over a relatively narrow pipe. I am curious to see if
Spotify has been equally clever.
By the way, perhaps of greater interest to ARSC than elsewhere, I've found Pandora to be very
well-stocked with older music. I have my own "Fletcher Henderson Channel" which I strictly sculpt to
non-Swing hot jazz and early big band (usually ends up pre-1940, but they have lots of late-40's hot
jazz revival material in rotation too). They seem to be adding content because I can listen to that
station a long time before it repeats something.
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Hirsch" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Friday, December 13, 2013 1:12 AM
Subject: [ARSCLIST] Provocative article on the future of music delivery
> This turned up on one of the other lists I subscribe to. In some ways it
> strikes me as totally irrelevant to what most of us are involved with, at
> least as far as our role as custodians of the history of recorded sound
> entails. On the other hand, we live in the present which is always shifting
> towards the future. As alien as this future strikes me (and possibly some
> of you reading this piece about it), I can't say that I can deny the truth
> of its existence.
> Peter Hirsch