More than once in the past on this blog, I’ve expressed the view that major record labels made a monumental mistake when the internet came along, and it’s one that everyone – except themselves – continue to live with the consequences of to this day. And that mistake was not to embrace Napster with open arms back in 1999.
The result of this was a series of blunders which decimated the music industry, something which has only started being resolved courtesy of legal streaming services. There’s just one problem here – the only ones benefitting under the current system are major labels who were only looking out for their own interests.
One of those mistakes was not to work with Rhapsody properly. The platform opened 20 years ago this month – on 3rd December 2001, to be precise – and allowed fans to stream as much music as they liked for a flat fee of $9.95. This Twitter thread by Matt Graves details this era from someone who was there…
Today marks the 20th anniversary of an important but overlooked moment in digital music: the launch of the world’s first $10-a-month, all-you-can-stream music subscription service: Rhapsody.— Matt Graves (@mgrooves) December 3, 2021
$9.95 was the price of this subscription back in 2001. Today, a Spotify subscription in the USA costs $9.99. Which means the cost has gone up by 4 cents over 20 years. If fuel prices had gone up by the same rate, petrol – which cost about 79p a litre in 2001 in the UK – it would now cost 82p a litre.
Doesn’t this tell you all you need to know about why streaming doesn’t work? It really should…