The late, great David Bowie got it spot on back in 2002. Telling the New York Times that music is going to become like "running water or electricity," the "Starman" singer predicted the meteoric rise of the streaming subscription that last week confirmed its place in the upper echelons of the industry.
The fragile U.S. music industry saw retail revenues from recorded music grow 11.4 percent in 2016 to $7.7 billion, according to the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). This was thanks, in no small part, to a doubling of paid streaming music subscriptions which helped the American music business experience its biggest gain since 1998.
"For the first time ever, streaming music platforms generated the majority of the U.S. music industry's revenues ... Streaming grew from just 9 percent of the market in 2011 to 51 percent of total industry revenues in 2016." The RIAA confirmed, namechecking such services as Spotify, TIDAL and Apple Music.
It's an impressive rise but the new technology has yet to truly capture any of my cash. I've dabbled in the "freemium" models for some services and I've purchased a few weeks' worth of access to one particular streaming subscription. But that's it. I've so far resisted, clinging on desperately to my vinyl collection and any CDs I still have from the 1990s that aren't scratched beyond playability. That is, until now.
With the upcoming launch of Google Home in the U.K. and the advertising onslaught that Amazon is currently undertaking with its own smart assistant Alexa, it won't be long before there's a talking robot nestled between the books on my dining room shelf.
And there lies the major selling point for me. Call me lazy, but who wouldn't want to shout "play Roy Orbison's 'Crying'" at a voice-controlled speaker when you're about to embark on the chopping of an onion?