Milby on Music column


The way we listen to music is changing all the time.

I still fondly remember getting the bus home from town on a Saturday afternoon with a huge record under my arm that I’d bought from Woolies.

Then the ‘Walkman’ revolutionised the bus to school.

Tapes seemed like old hat when the perfect sound of CDs became the norm.

It is hard to improve upon the CD but it happened when the Ipod craze started.

Can you imagine explaining to someone in the 1980s that twenty years from now everyone would carry their entire record collection in their pocket.

Thousands of songs. They would have thought you doolally.

It crossed my mind that we must have reached the end of the line.

There is no way to improve upon the Ipod.

But I’m wrong again.

Streaming is the most incredible thing to have ever happened to anyone who loves listening to music.

Now you do not even need to own records.

We all now have access to pretty much every song that has been released.

Usually for a small subscription fee we can have access to any song we can ever think of on our phones, tablets and computers.

The clever people at The Official Charts company recognised that the way we consume music is changing and the old system of counting how many people buy songs to determine the charts is rapidly becoming out of date.

So in July streaming tracks started to be counted towards the charts.

The move followed an explosion in streaming services with the total number of weekly audio streams growing from 100 million a week in January, 2013 to 200 million a week in January 2014.

The way it works is that for every 100 streams it counts as equal to one purchase.

I can’t imagine how streaming as a source of consuming music can be improved upon but I’ve been wrong many times before.