About twenty years ago one of my college housemates, Jerry, had an idea.
“What if you could send music over the internet?”
This was the age of 2400 baud modems that made crazy high pitched noised while they tried to connect to the internet. My 20 megabyte external hard drive for my MacPlus computer had set my parents back about five hundred bucks. High quality digital audio files were about the same size as they are now (about ten megabytes per minute of audio). In other words, I couldn’t even fit a single digital audio track on my expensive hard drive — I worked exclusively in MIDI.
So I forgive myself for my lack of vision at the time. I thought Jerry’s idea was ridiculous, and I let him know. Digital audio files were way too big, bandwidth was way too narrow. It would never happen.
Jerry persisted. What if a music file could be compressed? What if bandwidth increased? He pointed out that it would change everything about the way music was distributed, maybe even the way it was made.