Monday, November 23, 2009

Music (as we knew it) is Dead

John Mayer recently asked people who illegally downloaded his new album to “register” their copy if they liked it. This was a confusing idea for me at first, but I realized that the concept of registering (vs. buying) music is perhaps more accurate these days because music has changed.

Are we physically buying music anymore, or do we simply buy the rights to it? It no longer exists exclusively on a CD or a tape, and since those can be copied and put on all our different media (and because iTunes and Amazon recently got rid of anti sharing restrictions) music is an entirely new thing. It's not a physical commodity anymore, but data that we can copy and move and store wherever, without racks or milk cartons. And with services like Rhapsody, Pandora,, (my favorite) and many more, we're being loaned the rights to hear it via these channels. As a result, the way we think about, talk about and interact with (and sell) music needs to change too.

It’s nothing mind blowing, but I think it’s an important idea and just one of many such shifts in the way we see the world that’s happening today.