Technology marches onward. I’ve just invested in some wireless digital streaming technology by Sonos. I can now play CDs ripped to my computer in my study in the lounge through my stereo. CDs will be like records in ten years. Very few people will buy them. The majority of music will be streamed through computers.
I’m very impressed with the quality and simplicity of the Sonos system. I can control the whole thing from my iPhone, so my music library is at my finger tips and I can mix and match whatever I feel like.
Why is this the end of music? Well, bundled with the Sonos app on the iPhone is a free 30 day trial of Napster. The cheapest package on Napster is just £5 a month for unlimited streaming. Napster has 8 million titles!!!!
Admittedly it’s not very good for classical, but it’s good for pretty much everything else. At the moment it is high quality MP3, not lossless FLAC, but it can’t be long until they improve the quality.
At £5 a month, there’s very little incentive to buy CDs if you don’t mind a slight downgrade in quality. I can see a lot of people not bothering with CDs in the future. It will change the way we listen to music as well. Instead of listening to an album from beginning to end, we’ll mix and match.
The problem I see is that listening to music will become so cheap (i.e. £60 a year), it could strangle new talent. I guess it will make live music more important as it will be the only way to pay the bills. The other thing it will destroy is the album cover. Arguably CDs have already done that.