Grammys pick first streaming album as record stores keep watch on technology

A big shift in the music industry this past year made the show different than all others by allowing music released only through streaming services to be included

The Record Connection in Niles, Ohio is working to battle the trend toward digital-only music.

NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – Last night was the biggest night of the year for music – the Grammys!

A big shift in the music industry this past year made the show different from all others by allowing music released only through streaming services to be included.

Chance the Rapper won for best rap album Sunday night – the first streaming-only album to ever win a Grammy.

Nielsen recently released its year-end music report for 2016, and it showed music streaming services overtaking digital sales for the first time.

Americans used streaming services like Spotify, Google Play and Apple Music to listen to more than 431 billion songs last year. The services charge a fee to access just about any song on demand.

Digital streaming is convenient but it is causing record stores like the Record Connection in Niles to take a hit. Owner Jeffrey Burke has seen the changes over the years with how people listen to music from vinyl to CDs and then to digital downloads.

But the rate of downloads is declining as on-demand streaming services are on the rise. People say they like having any song they want right in the palm of their hand –no download needed.

Even with the digital age of music consumption, Burke says he’s seen a return to some basic styles of listening to music. Vinyl sales increased about 11 percent last year as more people are looking for a more “solid” listening experience.

“We do hear that more often that how cool it is to hold onto them and read the liner notes and share it with one another,” Burke said.

Burke hopes streaming services are just a phase, and that could well be the case as fans continue to flock to record stores on Record Store Day (April 22, 2017) and more artists release albums on vinyl so fans can have a more traditional music experience.

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