Forget Carrying Around 40,000 Songs; Think Infinite Music Storage

from the it's-in-the-cloud dept

Last month we wrote about how the economics of music were changing so rapidly that it highlighted how out of touch the record labels are when they still think charging $1 per song makes sense, just as Apple is releasing an iPod that can hold 40,000 songs. Of course, that's only looking at the present. We all know technology is rapidly changing, and Princeton computer science professor Ed Felten notes that it won't be long until anybody can carry all music ever recorded in their pocket. In fact, everyone will be able to do that. At that point, the economics of the industry are totally out of whack with what the recording industry still believes. Felten notes that if anyone can buy a bit of storage that contains all music ever recorded, just think how impossible it will be to shut down file trading operations. All of the music will be out there available to everyone. As long as one of your friends has access to all that music, you just need to create a private sharing network with them -- and the RIAA's goons will never know about it. Felten suggests this leads to a world where the industry is finally going to need to accept some kind of universal licensing plan -- or they might just realize that letting the music go free has plenty of benefits elsewhere in the music business model ecosystem. Of course, that would take more forward thinking record industry execs... and we may be waiting a long, long time for that to happen.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 1:37pm

    Geez! Give it a fricking rest!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
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    Chun, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 2:09pm

    Monthly Fee

    I would pay a monthly fee to access every song ever recorded. If 10 million people paid $10/month, I think it would be worth it for the music industry to consider.

    I would weed out the excess in the system, and leave the consumers with what we want. Next up, every movie ever filmed...

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 2:09pm

    Don't forget as bandwidth speeds increase the potential for file sharing increases as well. Look at the **AA showing fear in the face of the internet2 100Gbps. Fuck all that science crap, they gotta protect their bottom line!!!

    It is only a matter of time until storage and bandwidth makes sharing all music ever the norm. Personally, I don't like 80% of the music ever created anyway and I'd hate to use my ipod to scrollwheel through all music ever to find that one song.

     

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  4.  
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    aaron, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 2:13pm

    Re:

    there's no time for this "rest" you speak of.

     

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  5.  
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    Freddy, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 2:14pm

    "and the RIAA's goons will never know about it. Felten suggests this leads to a world where the industry is finally going to need to accept some kind of universal licensing plan"

    NooOOooo!!!!! At least for now. Let all the dinosaur record companies die in the tar pit, then maybe institute some kind of universal licensing plan that gives the money directly to the artists.

     

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  6.  
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    Ryan, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 2:14pm

    Storage

    They are even now working on nanobit storage, the amount of storage that can fit onto a drive is the size of the magnetically charged spot on the drive. With the increase in exactness of the readers and writers, ive heard that you would be able to put 300,000 years of music onto your ipod.

     

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  7.  
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    Richard The Realist, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 2:23pm

    The obvious solution - what was done for videotape

    Just give RIAA and the recording companies 10% of the profit on every means of digital storage sold from now on. Though they might 'prove' in court that they should get more. Surely their own products are the only REAL reason people buy storage.

    And what about the rights that lens makers have to the pictures you take - huh? Surely they own part of those!

    But should we tithe to the church for the photons and sound waves we use with no payment whatsoever? Aren't we ripping the creator(s) off?

     

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  8.  
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    M., Oct 11th, 2007 @ 2:25pm

    music already sucks. if the songwriters aren't paid properly... you can forget about it.

     

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  9.  
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    anthony, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 2:35pm

    napster 1999

    yea, i have a fileswapping network, me and my buddies have gotten together and i have a slavanap server at my house and we all have clients (10 of us all together) and its nice cuz its free of spyware and that garbage.

    Idea : im sure you all know the way dc++ works with ynhub. maybe is someone could create a server on the napster RFC, that could be linkable to hubs and nodes that we could create the worlds lagest MP3 network?? hows that for the riaa to find and trace :)

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Storage

    That's about 3,944,615,750 four minute songs. Or, at $.99 a piece, about $3,905,169,592.50
    I might need to get a second millionth job...


    But, honestly, nobody would ever have that much music. Since the average life expectancy in the US, if I remember correctly, is only 75, or about 9,861,539.38 songs, there really isn't need.

     

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  11.  
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    Kev, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 2:52pm

    Re:

    Maybe then we'll go back to the days before multi-million dollar recording contracts when artists had to prove themselves album to album and support them by touring heavily.

    What you're talking about is business, not music.

     

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  12.  
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    teknosapien, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 3:47pm

    9 Inch Nails

    Persona Trent Reznor just announced that after this year he'll be free from his contract with his current owner and will start giving his music away for free

     

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  13.  
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    Anthony, Oct 11th, 2007 @ 4:38pm

    Totally agree

    I've been saying this for years. If "record companies" made it easy to be honest, and realized that the days of their racket are numbered (that is, charging absurd amounts of money for packaging and slick marketing of marginal talents), they might be able to spur a renaissance in music artistry. But I'm not holding my breath, I think they'll just die fighting.

     

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  14.  
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    Duncan, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 2:17am

    Or perhaps video is where we'll go

    Interesting piece. I don't think consumers have any interest in carrying around every song EVER though. I've made a post on my blog explaining why and saying why I think video's the future instead:

    http://www.radio-edit.co.uk/?p=48

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    Moochie, Oct 12th, 2007 @ 6:44am

    Poor RIAA!

    It's clear to everyone but the RIAA that they have been made redundant by technology. They're not the first -- remember typesetting companies? Now everyone's a "typesetter."

    The RIAA, and anyone else stuck in the past, needs to figure out new ways to make a living. Musicians really don't need them anymore.

    M.

     

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  16.  
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    Rosie, Oct 16th, 2007 @ 11:03am

    digital content will be free

    At some point the bulk of digital content will be free. People, especially fans, will always pay for exclusive experiences. Not to mention merchandising of every idea.

    The big media companies know this but they will not lead the way. They are responders to change not agents of change.

    R

     

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  17.  
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    donkey donny, Oct 19th, 2007 @ 1:36pm

    music

    the music business is primarily involved with promoting the present and the future of pop music. no ipod can carry music that will be created tomorrow. the only thing that will change is the "hit life" of a song will shorten from a month, to a week, to a day, to us getting emails in the future promoting the next song of 12:00 pm on Oct 18th.

     

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