Very comprehensive and well-thought article on music streaming at Pitchfork. I added two books to my wishing list from it. I think the article deserved more repercussion.
As industry lore tells it, jukeboxes’ capacities for providing such detailed listener data redefined the possibilities of radio, which was hemorrhaging audiences to television by the 1950s. One night in the early 50s, Todd Storz and Bill Stewart of Omaha’s KOWH posted up at the bar across the street from their station to discuss marketing ideas. Over the course of a few hours, they noticed that patrons were playing the same jukebox selections over and over, all night long. Storz and Stewart merged this revelation into KOWH’s operating philosophy, creating the first Top 40 station. Instead of radio’s long-held focus on variety programming (which TV was doing much better), the tight, data-driven playlists of Top 40 stations drilled home the idea that the average music listener wanted their tastes flattered, and would happily listen to a format that delivered their preferences right back to them.