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Why Google bought Songza: The music industry's third revolution

Steven Max Patterson | July 3, 2014
Thomas Edison revolutionised music when he invented recording. Steve Jobs re-revolutionised music with the iPod and iTunes. Now music streaming has launched a third revolution.

Streamed music will be a revolution of convenience for listeners and advertisers, with a digitally disruptive impact on radio advertising, like the digital disruption of newspaper publishing by internet advertising. But this time, it will be slower, because a big part of the value of radio advertising occurs during the drive-time commute. Consumers with older cars who can't plug their smartphones into automobile infotainment systems to listen to streamed music will lag as the remaining radio listeners.

Apple's inheritance of streamed music leadership from its iTunes and iPod legacy isn't guaranteed because of its role in the last music revolution. Some people in the music business would say that the iPod destroyed the music business. And others would say that iTunes saved the music business. The music industry hasn't forgotten the painfully disruptive time and the prominent role that Apple played in it. Whether recording industry veteran Jimmy Iovine, who joined Apple with the acquisition of Beats Music, can transform iTunes's dominance in MP3 music business into the streamed music business remains to be seen.


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