How We Listen To Music: Clinging To Old Ways

With digital music downloads and streaming services on the rise, physical album sales are steadily decreasing. However, some artists and fans are doing their best to fight the digital trend. As of now, more traditional ways of consuming media, such as vinyl and radio, are far from dying out.

Neilson Music reports, “Radio continues to be the No. 1 source of music discovery in the U.S, with 61% of respondents saying they find out about new music from AM/FM or satellite radio,” which is actually an increase from the previous year. Even in the age of digital music downloads and streaming services, traditional radio is still surviving.

Streaming services and digital downloads make purchasing music much easier for fans, but ultimately, these methods are cheating the artists. This is why many classic rock bands, such as The Beatles and AC/DC, held out on making their music available on iTunes and/or digital streaming platforms for as long as possible.

While speaking to UK’s Daily Telegraph, members of AC/DC described iTunes as “a monster” that was “going to kill music if they’re not careful.” They also argued, “If we were on iTunes, we know a certain percentage of people would only download two or three songs from the album, and we don’t think that represents us musically.” However, since then, AC/DC has joined iTunes and online music streaming services.

While artists do make money from streaming services, the profit is very minimal. The Guardian reports that Spotify pays artists “between $0.006 and $0.0084” each time one of their songs is streamed. Other streaming services may pay artists even less. Instead, many artists have voiced that they prefer fans buy their music in the form of a complete album.

Vinyl records, which began gaining popularity in the 1950’s, are also surviving in the digital age, and even gaining popularity. They can easily be found at chain retail stores such as Barnes & Noble and f.y.e. Independent record stores are also gaining support from artists and fans.

There are even Netflix-like subscription services that send vinyl records to members on a monthly basis. While vinyl is more expensive, it’s the nostalgia that keeps music lovers coming back.

Although the popularity of digital music continues to grow, traditional ways of consuming music, such as radio and vinyl records, are far from obsolete.