Music Streaming: it’s the future now

3 min readMay 2, 2023

Back 30-ish years ago, when CDs were stupidly expensive, I came home from my high school in Upstate New York, stopped off at the Nobody Beats the Wiz store in New York City, and paid good money for the soundtrack to the movie “Benny and Joon”.

It proudly proclaimed, by virtue of a sticker on the front, that it included the earwormy I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles) song by the Proclaimers, used in both the opening and closing of the movie, plus in the commercial. Clearly, they had licensed that thing, and they were going to milk it for all it was worth.

I got home, played the whole CD, and had a true what-the-actual-fuck moment. What I had discovered was that a number of songs present in the movie were missing, but a bunch of incidental music was present, composed by someone named Rachel Portman — her name in way less visible type than the obvious selling point above.

In the days of Titanic-level releases where multiple CDs come out for the same movie, we wouldn’t even call this a soundtrack, but a “Score”. In fact, the only thing we would call a “Song” was the Proclaimers “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” song.

Now, yes, that proclaimers song was getting a shit-ton of airplay, but what I wanted was a different tune, one that was in the movie during an sweet, soft scene, John Hiatt’s “Have a little faith in me”:

When I went back to the store to try to return it, they told me that they couldn’t return an opened album, that I was somehow supposed to know that a soundtrack wasn’t a soundtrack, that I was supposed to know the name of every song in the movie when they had weird incidental titles like “Love Theme” and “Sam is Kicked Out”. (Both of which coincide with points I remember in the movie).

Effectively, I had paid $20 for a CD-single of that one song.

This flavored my attitude to this day: Nonsense like this is why I had ZERO problems using Napster, or Kazaa or Limewire or whatever. And, on a greater level, why I cry no tears when these companies lose money due to shrinkage, or shoplifting, or piracy.

The landscape has changed.

Today, you can go look this stuff on IMDB, or ask on Reddit, or wherever “What’s that one song from that movie?” — you couldn’t then.

Today, you can preview every track on the album and make sure it has the song you want on it.

Today, in most cases, you can just buy the one song you want.

Heck, today, if you don’t want to wait for a song that literally never will come on the radio, and you just want to hear it, it’s probably on YouTube.

We haven’t solved a lot of problems, but this one’s pretty much done.




Gushi/Dan Mahoney is a sysadmin/network operator in Northern Washington, working for a global non-profit, as well as individually.