This article posits that the widespread adoption of music recording files as the “preferred” form for the storage, retrieval, and dissemination of music is not, and never has been driven by users/listeners; that this is an oversimplified understanding of what has happened since roughly the turn of the century. Instead, the article makes the historically-based argument that what has happened has been driven by the industry side of the equation – even in the face of what is, again, an oversimplified understanding: that the record industry has undeniably suffered and contracted in size and revenue as a result of the digital turn. The overarching significance of this argument is an attempt to bring some much needed perspective to the many analyses of what has been going on in the realm of popular music and the music industry, and to suggest what the consequence of this state of affairs might mean for the future of both the music and its industry.

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