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Spotify In A Box: Why Sharing Will Never Be Stopped

from the jukebox-of-alexandria dept

Most people will be familiar with Moore’s Law, usually stated in the form that processing power doubles every two years (or 18 months in some versions.) But just as important are the equivalent compound gains for storage and connectivity speeds, sometimes known as Kryder’s Law and Nielsen’s Law respectively.

To see why, consider that the IBM PC XT had a 10 Mbyte hard drive when it was launched in 1983, which meant you couldn’t even fit a single song on it. Similarly, the first widely-used modem, the 1981 Hayes Smartmodem, had a maximum speed of 300 baud: to transfer a digitized song using a dial-up connection would have taken around 500 hours.

With those kind of figures, it’s easy to see why the recording industry underestimated the threat that file sharing would become once the Internet arrived: based on the past, it was almost inconceivable that people would ever swap music between computers. Of course, once that did start to happen, and the shape of the future became obvious to many, the industry nonetheless wilfully ignored the facts and the trends at every turn, when instead it should have taken the lead in re-inventing media for the Internet age.

That woeful history of refusing to accept the implications of rapidly-advancing technologies makes this prediction, found via Slashdot, even more fateful:

Technologies that will make it possible to expand disk density include heat-assisted magnetic recording (HAMR), which Seagate patented in 2006. Seagate has already said it will be able to produce a 60TB 3.5-in. hard drive by 2016.

Assuming Seagate or someone else delivers, that 60 terabyte hard disk could store around 10 million typical MP3 files. A year ago, Spotify was said to have 15 million tracks, which means that you could store most of today’s Spotify on that future Seagate drive. Spotify is likely to grow even larger by 2016, but it probably won’t grow as fast as the storage capacity of hard disks, so there will be some point in the not-too-distant future when you can place all of its holdings on a single hard disk: Spotify in a box.

Obviously, few people will choose to do that, but storing your favorite million songs will not only be realistic, it will be cheap — and even portable. Provided the transfer rate to and from such disks also keeps up with the growth in capacities — an indispensable technological requirement, otherwise they become impossible to use — this means that people will be able to move around huge collections of music, without ever touching an Internet connection. That makes all those three-strikes plans moot, since you won’t actually need your broadband line in order to swap files with friends. You’ll just plug in your portable hard drives to a common computer and exchange stuff directly (as probably already happens with today’s terabyte-sized portable disks.)

In an ideal world, we would also see a kind of constant scaling of the intelligence of the recording industry, such that by 2016 it would finally accept that trying to stop sharing — whether online or off — is simply pointless. Somehow, though, I think we’ll just have to make do with the other variants of Moore’s Law.

Follow me @glynmoody on Twitter or identi.ca, and on Google+

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Companies: hayes, ibm, seagate, spotify

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Comments on “Spotify In A Box: Why Sharing Will Never Be Stopped”

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63 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on May 25th, 2012 @ 5:38pm

speaking of porn and solutions… the entire issue is a question of will not capability… youtube gets 72 hours of video uploaded per minute, yet I’ve never seen any porn or really nasty stuff there, show me five live links to porn on youtube and you’ll prove to me filtering does not work…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on May 25th, 2012 @ 5:38pm

You pick the stupidest example to try and make a point, which fails. Porn is obviously porn. There is no not being able to filter it due to it’s obviousness. Filtering however does routinely fail, else there wouldn’t be copyrighted material on Youtube due to the Content ID system currently in place. Of which there is a manner to easily beat, but I won’t bother explaining it here.

Suffice it to say, Google has gone above and beyond regarding Youtube to satisfy copyright holders and monetize and give them revenue from material uploaded, regardless of who uploaded it.

That you want them to either pay people to manually screen all uploads (as unfeasible or realistic as that is) or you want them to somehow and magically know what is or is not copyrighted (which is stupid given that all material is copyrighted the moment it’s created) and to whom it belongs is completely laughable/ridiculous.

Again, this sense of entitlement that you and the labels/studios have is insane. You want the world to fix your problems, you want the world to give you money (even if they don’t want your material), you want governments to support your monopolies, you want laws passed to sustain your outdated business models, you want to limit technological innovation, etc. And yet you think the common person is the one with a huge sense of entitlement. Lol.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Response to: Anonymous Coward on May 25th, 2012 @ 5:38pm

speaking of porn and solutions… the entire issue is a question of will not capability… youtube gets 72 hours of video uploaded per minute, yet I’ve never seen any porn or really nasty stuff there, show me five live links to porn on youtube and you’ll prove to me filtering does not work…

Anyone who claims filtering porn and filtering infringing content is a similar problem is someone who doesn’t understand very much about the law or technology.

Anonymous Coward says:

meh… if one human being has to find another to get it, fine. also, every new release (about 75,000 per year) also will not automatically appear on it.

this is just more “trying to convince people of lies” kinda stuff we’ve come to expect from TD… what else ya got in that crystal ball?… the amount of desperation in the recent posts is pretty comical… give up! give up already! … uh, no…

you guys spend a lot of time trying to convince people of something that you say can’t be stopped. if it really can’t be stopped, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop it, shouldn’t you be doing better things with your life than writing blog posts about something that’s gonna happen whether you fight for it or not?

maybe it’s time for a vacation, jus sayin’…

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I don’t so much object to attempts to shut down piracy. What I object to is all of the collateral damage. Any of the common proposals are in opposition to free speech and bring along the excess baggage of things like convenience, increased cost, accusation of innocent people, outright extortion.

The industry needs to realize that it is fighting basic economics and well as culture. It is very much a case of “Adapt or Die” and MPAA/RIAA cartel companies have decided not to adapt.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

…and that’s increasingly true. I’d guess maybe 100 years from now, we won’t really have “movie stars” or “professional musicians” any more, so much as everyone will make their own entertainment for their friends and families in their spare time. And it’ll all be available on the internet for free, much like fanfiction is today…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“..and that’s increasingly true. I’d guess maybe 100 years from now, we won’t really have “movie stars” or “professional musicians” any more, so much as everyone will make their own entertainment for their friends and families in their spare time. And it’ll all be available on the internet for free, much like fanfiction is today…”

…let me know what it’s like a 100 years from now when you get there, what else you got in that crystal ball? for now, I’ll stick with the issues we have today…

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Re:4 My crystal ball...

Assuming that guys like you don’t successfully lobby for further extensions to the copyright term, 100 years from now you will be able to put more books, movies, and music onto a storage device that fits into your pocket than you will be able to watch in your entire lifetime.

This is really what big media is afraid of.

They are mortally afraid that they will have to compete against the best works from decades past that are all in the public domain and completely free for the taking.

Today’s “piracy” is tomorrow’s public domain.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Have you missed all the bogus DMCA notices that have blocked or removed people’s legitimate, self-owned posts or files? Including one of Techdirt’s regarding sopa? Have you missed the attempts to silence criticism and parody, to overcharge educational institutes, to criminalize what was once de minimis or transformative use?

Don’t link an industry apologist from here and expect to be taken seriously. Make your own arguments addressing the facts that have been raised. If you simply ignore every article posted here and fling out baseless statements and bought-and-paid-for op-eds, other commenters will just point and laugh.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You’re not talking about artists’ rights. You’re talking about the rights of wealthy media companies. If you had the artists’ interests in mind, you’d be arguing for laws against Hollywood accounting, collection society policies that favor only the top tier of artists, and exploitative contracts. Clean your own house before you start complaining about someone else’s.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Don’t expect hurricane head to talk about artists’ rights. For someone who refuses to work with labels he spends an awful lot of time defending them and their practices on the grounds that they have “contracts”. Remember, kids, screwing over someone is okay if you have the contracts to prove it, then stonewall for years to avoid paying the money while writing in new laws that state you don’t have to pay.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

why not both at the same time? why either or? also, artists have contracts and free agency to negotiate with labels and motion picture studios, there are also unions and collective bargaining… show me any of that with the pirate bay or any other illegal pirate site ripping off artists and you may have a point, but until then, it’s just your same old baseless talking points…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

” but until then, it’s just your same old baseless talking points…”

It’s amusing that you don’t see the irony in making such a comment. Of course, you wouldn’t.

Also, as has been repeatedly explained to you, TPB and other file sharing sites (because they are not all illegal, especially given the fact that many operate out of countries where file sharing is expressly and, more importantly, according to the law perfectly legal) ARE NOT studios/labels. Nor are they ripping off artists, a fact which is readily apparent to all but the most dimwitted, due to the fact that they DO NOT take revenue from artists nor upload/host any content themselves. They do however create a revenue for themselves through the use of advertising, which is in itself NOT illegal.

Now, if you want to continue talking your same old baseless talking points in each and every single thread, go ahead. But suffice it to say eventually people are going to get very tired of you and just start reporting your spam, because at this point that is all your comments are. And, just to reiterate for the gazillionth time, reporting/flagging a comment is NOT censorship due to the fact that the comment is still easily viewable. Censorship, the likes of SOPA which I’m sure you supported and hoped would pass, would mean that you wouldn’t be able to comment at all or that even if you could your comment it would not be viewable at all. So yeah. Basically, you’re an idiot and get some new material because frankly we’re all at a point where we’re getting really sick and tired of you popping up in each and every article and sound like a broken record.

MrWilson says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

“also, artists have contracts and free agency to negotiate with labels and motion picture studios,”

Saying an artist has the ability to negotiate with a major studio is like saying a fish has the ability to negotiate with a shark. It’s an inherently predatory relationship. Sure, you can stop and talk, but they’ll still eat you in the end. If the ability to negotiate really were that great for artists, why do so many “successful” acts talk about how they’ve been screwed by the studios?

“there are also unions and collective bargaining”

What union does Christina Aguilera belong to? Does Justin Bieber participate in collective bargaining? Please cite some source for where this is happening amongst performing artists.

For one thing, artists are clamoring to get exposure on the front page of the Pirate Bay, which is free advertising, yet the studios charge artists for their own advertising.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Re: The Big Lie.

Artists have no rights. The idea that they do is a big lie perpetrated by those that seek to abuse artists (namely publisher).

There is no right to a copyright.

So the idea that there is any real conflict here is a total fallacy.

There is most certainly collateral damage. Actual rights are being trampled in favor of non-rights.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I was a part of an anime club in college in the early 90s. We cheerfully traded VHS tapes and copied them for each other. Yeah, the quality was crap, but you could get anything if it had been fansubbed and you were patient. I still have several series on tape, since the DVDs I bought turned out to have worse translations.

Want to know why we spent time and money making copies for other people, why our networks were so efficient, and why we cultivated a strong sense of “sharing is caring”? Because the Japanese anime companies could not have cared less about serving us, so we figured we were all in it together. Don’t underestimate the power of those experiences; networks like that affected how a variety of sharing communities still work today. The technology and processes have changed, but the mindset created by that lack of supply (and by modern crappy supply) lives on.

It might be slower, but even in this imaginary internet-less sharing community, the best portion of the material would get around to pretty much everyone who was interested, and with a lot less effort than we had to expend in 1995.

Demoliri (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“also, every new release (about 75,000 per year) also will not automatically appear on it.”

Considering Spotify is currently on 15,000,000 tracks, by your standard it won’t double in size for another 200 years, compared to the capacity for storage which increases by a factor of 10 every 3.5 years or so. I fail to see how this is a problem, or even an issue.

I think the issue your missing is, that in trying to prevent file sharing, laws are being passed that will have a very direct impact on your life on-line while having no significant impact on piracy or file sharing.

The other possibility is of course, you are being satirical, and if so you are most convincing.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Considering Spotify is currently on 15,000,000 tracks, by your standard it won’t double in size for another 200 years, compared to the capacity for storage which increases by a factor of 10 every 3.5 years or so. I fail to see how this is a problem, or even an issue.’

because you fail to understand human nature and the constant need for “new”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

In my opinion, the best music is made by people who are writing it for the sake of being creative, not because they expect to be paid for it. Actually I think the total destruction of the music industry could actually be a good thing for music fans – there’d be less identikit chart bullshit to filter out to get to the good stuff.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

>>You’ll just plug in your portable hard drives to a common computer and exchange stuff directly (as probably already happens with today’s terabyte-sized portable disks.)

Yep. This is already common on our campus. Our IT folks are pretty strict at controlling torrents and such (which sometimes causes problems when trying to bring in things like Linux distro’s). IT is also pretty quick to cut off internet access for students who are doing P2P. Of course, with all of the emphasis on shutting down torrents, the exchange has just moved around a little.

There are some pretty regular events that I would have called “swap meets” back in my day. From what I have seen, it seems that there is more traffic in TV shows than movies. A lot of music gets moved around, but it is different. Music sharing seems to be more of a DJ-lite type of thing. People will put together a collection and pass the whole thing over at once.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Re: Re:

Music sharing seems to be more of a DJ-lite type of thing. People will put together a collection and pass the whole thing over at once.

What? You mean like giving someone a mix tape like has been going on since the invention of the compact cassette in the ’70s? *gasp* and here was I thinking copyright infringement was invented by Napster!

fogbugzd (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

You are right, including the excellent sarcasm about this being nothing new. I do hesitate to call them mix-tapes because the mix-tapes were usually carefully planned out and sequenced (at least in theory). These are more about bulk music transfers without any order. There may be a theme to a collection, but you cannot count on much filtering.

Anonymous Coward says:

Your logic here sort of sucks. Your concept is that, as it becomes easier to break the law, we should just ignore the law.

So you are a supporter of automatic assault rifles for all? After all, they are used to break the law, and they are getting better, more effecient, and much faster. At some point, they have to be so good that the law will no longer be relevant.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The article makes a clear distinction between laws that are viewed by many or most citizens as reasonable (in the case of guns, because many of us like to live) and laws that are viewed as ridiculous, badly enforced, and just plain stupid. Hence the comparison between parking laws and copyright, rather than murder laws and copyright.

I hate to break it to you, AC, but trying to comment on every single post today is not going to magically make people agree with you. Maybe if you picked a post, thought carefully about your arguments, and didn’t whip something out of your, uh, nether regions, you would have a better chance of being joined in a real conversation, instead of dogpiled.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I hate to break it to you, AC, but trying to comment on every single post today is not going to magically make people agree with you. “

LOL. Who would expect the TD fan b01s to ever question their religion! Are you ready for the church of singularity to save your soul!?!

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

The RIAA and MPAA will go to "Ultra-violence."

Well, I commented on this, last year:

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20110124/17422712805/obama-nominates-former-top-riaa-lawyer-to-be-solicitor-general.shtml#c1069

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20111206/09551716990/as-expected-sopa-supporters-hate-more-reasonable-alternative.shtml#c487

One thing I would like to re-iterate, based on subsequent comments, is that one can have a _program_ which methodically compares two or more disks or directories, identifying which files are shared, either under the same name or different names, and which files are unique to one disk/directory or another. The program does this by reading each file, generating a hash digest, and saving that and other information in a database. The database can then be sorted according to various criteria, and files automatically copied back and forth. This does not have to happen on one computer. Two or more computers can exchange databases, and each perform comparisons, and then request and receive files from each other. If they are physically close to each other, they can communicate by wireless at quite decent data rates. I realize there are a lot of non-programmers on Techdirt these days, but for anyone with a computer science degree or the equivalent, the foregoing is obvious.

A second point is that the RIAA/MPAA makes its living, not from rare items, but from common items. A group of a hundred or two hundred people will, jointly, have copies of the RIAA/MPAA’s entire _remunerative_ inventory. All they need to do is bring their computers to one place at regular intervals, start the right application, and wait while their computers talk back and forth.

A third point is that if the RIAA/MPAA doesn’t want to put up with file trading, it will be obliged to resort to direct, crude, physical force. This has legal consequences. Lawyers representing music and movie publishers get sanctioned by the courts, every now and then, but this is merely a matter of being assessed monetary penalties or being reported to the bar association. If they should attempt to resort to the methods which gangsters commonly use to protect their garbage-hauling businesses, the consequences could be vastly more serious.

Apropos of nothing at all, this page includes a picture of the noted, um, _businessman_ Bugsy Siegel, after his business partners, the Italian ones from Chicago, got tired of dealing with him, back in 1947.

http://www.nguoilanhdao.vn/Details/phap-luat/y-tuong-kinh-doanh-thien-tai-va-cai-chet-bi-tham/32/38414.star
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bugsy_Siegel

Ruud (profile) says:

Your favorite million songs

A million songs would take 10 years, 16 hours a day continuous listening. For each song to become a favorite, you’d have to listen to them multiple times. That would last a lifetime, with no time left for other entertainment.

Frankly, these numbers are meaningless. You would need a broad taste in music to have 10000 favorites. The problem (or rather the fun) is finding those songs. Spotify is an excellent tool to find music related to what you’re listening to. Amazon also has great suggestions, but unfortunately I am unable to buy MP3 songs from Amazon because I live in the wrong country.

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