“I bought a lot of music in my youth. Some of my earliest purchases were the vinyl single of Madonna’s ‘Like a Prayer’ and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince’s iconic album, ‘He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper.’
My music access only increased as I got older. In college, I worked part-time at WHOV, the campus radio station where I also DJed a couple of shifts – everything from R&B to straightforward jazz. That meant a little extra spending change … and more knowledge about music than I ever thought I would need.
In 2001, when my entire CD collection was stolen from my by a very bad person, I thought I’d never be able to rebuild. But, I was determined. So I kept collecting, this time opting for mostly-used CDs via sites like half.com. A few years later, digital music came on the scene, which made it easier than ever to organize my collection, create mood-setting playlists and buy everything I liked.
But something happened to my music buying habits recently. Free streaming services like Pandora and Spotify came along and my phone got smarter, too – or at least better at gaming the system for free downloads. I just stopped buying music with any regularity. I can’t even remember what year it was when I last updated my iTunes library, and it looks like I’m not alone. Earlier this year, Billboard reported the first drop in digital music sales since the iTunes store made its debut in 2003. CD sales continued their steady decline and overall album sales also experienced an 8.4% drop. All of this made me wonder: Is owning music important to anyone anymore? If yes, then who?”