By Heather Brown

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — If you watched the Elton John special on CBS Tuesday night, you’ll realize a lot has changed in music — even in just the last few years. Everything from how much we pay, to how we tune in.

So, how do we get our music? Good Question.

Back when Elton John had his first No. 1 hit, LPs and eight-tracks were all the rage. Cassettes started to take over in the 1980s.

Now, Heather Brown’s three-year-old daughter doesn’t even know what they are.

By 2000, everyone had CDs — until Napster and Limewire.

iTunes started in 2003 and Spotify launched in 2008.

“It’s a great time to be a music-lover,” said Joel Waldfogel, who studies entertainment technology. “We certainly have access to much more music than we used to.”

According to Nielsen, we spend an average of 32 hours per week listening to music. That’s up from 23 hours in 2015.

In 2017, 41 percent of the listening came from streaming services, a quarter came from radio and 14 percent comes from downloads. Only 11 percent came from physical purchases, like CDs (which are down) and vinyl (which are very small, but slightly up).

While our listening habits are up, the changes in the music industry are bringing in a lot less revenue for record labels and artists. About two-thirds of it now comes from streaming.

“When we talk about whether the industry is thriving or dying — the number of new products, the number of new songs continues to rise — it’s hard to take seriously that the industry is dying for lack of revenue,” Waldfogel said.


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