I have about 550 CDs at home, proudly on display in the family room on IKEA shelves, alphabetized from ABBA to Yes (I never was much of a ZZ Top fan). I remember when I bought the first one, in 1988, even before I had a CD player, excited about the future but a little disturbed that all my vinyl albums were becoming obsolete. Today, I face a future that may soon render all those CDs obsolete as well.

Music delivery over the Internet is radically changing the way we listen and the way we buy.  The same technology that rendered your favorite tunes as digital zeroes and ones so they could be played on a CD has made music almost ubiquitously available. The ramifications are far-reaching, from the soldier in Iraq who can stay connected with his local Christian music station online, to the youth group member whose CD collection contains no CD cases (just silver disks with Christian band names scrawled with a Sharpie), to the newest car stereo's "full iPod docking" capability.

This series will examine the sweeping implications of the Internet on music in general and Christian music in particular. In Part One, we'll look at the phenomenon that rocked the music industry: Napster and illegal downloads, and today's music portability in an iPod world. Part Two will recount the growth and volatile future of Internet Radio.  Finally, Part Three will consider perhaps the most tangible outcome of the Internet: the much-debated impending death of the compact disc.

The Effects of Napster and iPod

Two new additions to today's dictionaries have played a pivotal role in taking music off the disc: Napster and iPod. The history of the former is a lesson in legality and morality. The latter is lauded for both design and marketing simplicity. Both have ...

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