I Have Seen The Future of The Music Industry…

…and it’s a lot like it used to be years ago but online.

As I write this post, I’m listening to R.E.M.’s new album Accelerate streaming from iLike.com. I like what I’m hearing so far and will likely end up buying the collection once it’s released next Tuesday.

It occurred to me how similar this experience is to the way music was promoted when I came of age in the 1970’s. At that time, any good record store played new records when they came out. I’d go down to Record Trading Center in Orange, California to listen and browse records. If they weren’t playing what I wanted to hear, I’d ask and they would switch records most of the time. This was the ’70’s equivalent to the listening booths of the 1950’s and ’60’s where you could sample music before you bought it. Even radio was hip to this with LP’s played in their entirety without commercial breaks on the day of release. I often taped these off KROQ and KMET to sample later.

And you know what happened? I bought a lot of records and cassettes. Later this changed to CD’s and just a few years ago, to digital downloads. Somewhere in the past 30 years the recording industry forgot that they are in the music business not the record, cassette, CD or digital file business.

Recorded music is a promotional sampler for discovering new artists and for selling concert tickets and other merchandise. Unfortunately, the powers that be forgot this fact. Looks like R.E.M. gets it, so I’ll head to Amazon next Tuesday.

In the meantime, check out the album over at iLike.

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