The Digital Songstream by Brad Hill (Book)

Brad Hill
The Digital Songstream

The clash of old media (books) against the new media (the Internet) results in pretty much every book or article on new media being outdated as soon as it’s published. In spite of that, Brad Hill’s book The Digital Songstream contains some valuable information and provides a good introduction to the issues of digital and streaming music.

Much of the book focuses attention on online services as sources of digital music and on hands-on introductions to many of the software packages the author has found useful. In many cases, this information has already become obsolete – online services like Napster and PressPlay have either vanished or morphed into some new and unrecognizable form, while new services like Apple’s iTunes have become highly visible. Software packages continually evolve and, even for those still available, they may look and operate completely differently from the way they did when the book was written (WinAmp is a notable example). You can still learn a lot about various program functions, even if the specific program details change from version to version.

So, don’t look to The Digital Songstream as a tutorial on software and services. Rather, use it to get an overview into the basics of digital music and some of the controversial issues surrounding music sharing and copyright. If you don’t concentrate too much on the specifics, you’ll come away with an appreciation, if not an understanding, of how to find, manage and enjoy digital music from a variety of sources and also gain some insights into what the fuss is all about. Furthermore, the reader can supplement the information in the book with online readings (some of which are pointed out at the author’s web site The Digital Songstream is a gentle introduction to a complex and exciting new source of entertainment.


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Published in Bluegrass Unlimited, November 2004. Used with permission.