There’s nothing new under the sun

Embed from Getty Images

Alex Ross’s recent article in The New Yorker gives a good example of the old adage ‘there’s nothing new under the sun’ regarding the current debate over paid for vs. rented—or ‘streaming’—music. This is a debate that was going on close to two hundred years ago in classical sheet music:

The musicologist Deirdre Loughridge recently published a blog post about the history of music-subscription services, which date back to sheet-music lending libraries in the eighteenth century.

By the eighteen-thirties, pundits were fretting that such libraries were undercutting the economics of the music business and altering the nature of listening. “One enjoys superficially, one always wants something new,” a critic groused in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung. A few decades later, a piano teacher wrote, “Music lending libraries could very well be called ‘music snacking libraries.’”

Almost identical complaints are being levelled at Spotify, YouTube, and the rest. These anxieties are now forgotten because, as Loughridge notes, the very existence of music-lending libraries has been forgotten. If they hurt music sales, the damage was soon repaired. Loughridge suggests that this obscure history should promote a “healthier skepticism toward claims that any model represents ‘the’ answer for the music industry.”

Reference: The Anxious Ease of Apple Music – The New Yorker

Advertisements

3 thoughts on “There’s nothing new under the sun

  1. Yes everything in art is cyclical- that’s why it’s a revolution – art is like the horizon – it seems to have a beginning and end but if you keep going long enough you come back you where you started

  2. Pingback: The telegraph and privacy | RAMTOP

  3. Pingback: Predicting internet advertisement blocking in 1973 | RAMTOP

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s