Let’s make a list of all the things we didn’t have before January 1, 2000. There was no iTunes, iPods or iPhones. There wasn’t any such thing as YouTube, Facebook or Twitter. We didn’t have Snapchat, Spotify, or any sort of smartphones. No Netflix (at least as we know it today). No MySpace. No Instagram.
What did we have? Dial-up modems. Windows 98 (if you were lucky, Windows 95 if you weren’t). Apple was still a corporate basket case. Even Google was a baby, barely 18 months old.
If we look at music, we were all mad for compact discs. They were selling by the hundreds of millions and the music industry was drowning in money.
Vinyl? Dead, dead, dead. The only thing that kept the format on life support were club DJs who still preferred the feel and action of records over CDs in the booth.
Yes, we had MP3s and we’d begun to trade files online, but that was still a pretty clunky and frustrating process, even for people who discovered this new thing called “Napster” which had been in the world for six months.
Now fast-forward to December 31, 2009. Everyone was getting smartphones. Global CDs had collapsed. Music industry revenues were cratering with no end in sight. People were buying legal digital downloads. Streaming had started to come online. Vinyl was making a comeback. And Apple, Google, and Facebook were among the most powerful companies in the world.
The recorded music industry was in disarray, bleeding money, laying people off, dropping artists, and still trying to litigate its way back to their former glory.
The first decade of the 21st century was an era of massive technological disruption. How did this affect music? Let’s examine that.
Songs heard on this episode:
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