Music Business Heads into the Virtual World

In this future, the digital music files on people’s computers could join vinyl records, cassette tapes and CDs in the dusty vault of fading music formats.


Apple buying LaLa a couple of weeks ago has created quite a few rumors about what will happen next. This one sentence from the NYT site has me asking some new questions, namely related to how long each of the above mentioned technologies ruled their slice of the recorded music environment. Could the shelf life of the MP3 really only be ten or so years? Are we actually prepared to give up ownership of the physical representations of one of our (arguably) most prized collectible — our music? Even in a World where digital music is stored locally, we still *have* our music. Interesting stuff.

3 thoughts on “Music Business Heads into the Virtual World

  1. Complete cellular data coverage would have to happen before I’d opt for cloud ownership over file ownership. Things to consider… What about all the areas where data service is less-than-fast? What about the areas where there is currently no service.
    Will I have to pay for wifi on a flight to listen to my music?
    I also believe the same questions can be asked here as you have brought up before with respect to DRM. Why buy access (cloud music) that is locked to specific service providers (lala) when you can buy files that work with any product (machine-based media players, ipods, lala, etc.).

  2. Kyle, these are great questions … but ones I bet will be figured out before we see an all or nothing cloud service. As a matter of fact I doubt we’ll see it as an all or nothing. I am imaging a situation where I still buy my MP3 files (DRM free at least) that download to a central machine, but are then available to me in the cloud when I am connected. What that solves for someone like me is the ability to enjoy my entire connection when I am at work without loading up my Penn State laptop with my personal music connection. When I am flying I’d still have the music that I have synced to my iPhone, but wouldn’t be able to access everything until I was connected. I don’t know but the idea of a cloud based shared library opens some interesting doors for me — while working, while sitting in the coffee shop, or even in my own home across multiple machines. I do think this is a space to keep our eyes on though.

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