The Future Of Music
from the get-over-it-already dept
A “manifesto” of sorts over at Salon concerning the future of the music business. It says that a “universal jukebox” system is inevitable. People will be able to get any music anywhere at any time for a basic subscription fee, and then piracy won’t be an issue. The basic point is that the music industry is wasting their time on watermarking and other digital rights management ideas. While I agree that what they’re putting forward is a possibility, I don’t think it’s as “sure” a thing as Salon makes it out to be. No matter what, people prefer free over not-free. If the incentive is there, then people will create technologies to help make things free. The argument from the other side is that pay-for services can maintain quality, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the next generation of Napster/Gnutella clones take on the quality issue themselves (while keeping the music free). The only way I really see a “subscription” service working is if other services are included as well (access to additional info, lyrics, concert tickets, and who knows what else).
Comments on “The Future Of Music”
Too little, too late
If the record companies had created a product like Napster themselves they’d have had a chance. But they stood idly by while things like MP3 and the Internet ran circles around them. They’d have been in great shape if they’d made the purchase/playback of music quick, easy and cheap. People would have accepted subscriptions as a matter of course. Unfortunately, they did nothing. Now the public has seen cheap and easy music WITHOUT the record companies. Think they’re going to be fooled into going back? Hardly.
Re: Too little, too late
I think you are right, the record industry was slow to react. But I have a hard time believing its all over for them. I believe people will pay something for an easy to use, quality subscription based music service.
I like napster and gnutella, I use them. But they are frustrating and OK for single song downloads.
Let’s not forget that while MP3 and Napster are big, you are still talking about early adopters using the services. Most of America, and the rest of the World for that matter, are still not participating. Bandwidth and portable devices will drive MP3 adoption. Until the market is saturated with mass DSL/Cable net users and MP3 players reach Walkman like sales numbers, the music industry is still very much in charge.
Recent announcements by BMG and AOL/Time Warner indicate they are starting to get it. If AOL lauches a useful subscription based service to its 26M users, watch the model take off.