LOOPDILOOP -- The iPod--and specifically the ability to shuffle singles inside the iPod--will force significant changes to the music business, writes Feargal McKay. "The way people listen to music is changing. Everyone’s shuffling their music collection on their iPod and are more and more getting in touch with the little-visited corners of their music collection. Having gone to all the bother of dusting off all those old CDs and transferring them to their computer, who can blame them? And now, rather than trading up each year from one new best thing to the next, consumers are spending more time with the old friends with whom they have slipped out of touch and spending less time listening to new music." McKay thinks "the back catalogue bounce is on, but this time, the music industry is unlikely to profit from it".
In addition to having a back catalogue on personal hard drives, consumers can now legally remix music that is slipping out of copyright. In Europe, the copyright of actual recordings, is limited to fifty years. Both the presence of easily resuffled iPod tunes and legally remediated classics will hit the recording industry hard during the next few years. Perhaps these distinct trends will shock a few labels into providing cheap tracks that millions of iPod users want.