Lachlan R. Dale (Adrift for Days, Art As Catharsis)
SPB: How has the increasing digitisation of music changed your listening habits?
Dale: A very good question, and one I often reflect on.
There is no doubt that the digitisation of music has dramatically increased access while also increasing supply through reduced production costs.
The effect for me, personally, is that I am flooded with a supply of new, unique, and varied music on a constant basis. Selfishly this is an awesome thing, as it provides me with constant stream of inspiration and allows me to discover new, niche artists easier than ever before.
Last year I began using Spotify, which I have mixed feelings about. While I don't agree with its unethical payment structure - and would happily pay much more for the service - the access it provides is unrivaled. As a tool it is incredible, and I see a streaming model such as Spotify as the likely future of digitised music.
Since I began using Spotify, I rarely download music (which, as a format has the disadvantage of needing to be transferred between devices), and have long stopped buying CDs. My stacks of thousands of compact discs gather dust in a corner of my room. While I spent many years and thousands of dollars building my collection, they seem now superfluous; a format superseded by its physical limitations.
Partially through guilt, I have turned to building a vinyl collection. At the moment I only listen to my records a few times a week, and almost see my purchases as a symbolic way to support an artist - which seems insane. Perhaps in my next home I will invest more heavily in a high-end sound system to enjoy my records.
There is no doubt that the digitisation of music has dramatically undermined its value - infinite reproducibility is bound to have that effect.
As someone who plays in a number of bands, and runs a record label, the future of music sales is profoundly uncertain. I'd be curious to hear other's thoughts.