I used to like owning music. Truth be told I still do. I still download songs, albeit mostly now after I’ve listened to the album they originated from on Spotify, and being an ex muso geek I even edit them to get them exactly the way i like – fade-outs, fade-ins eq fixes etc. That’s one of the many reasons why i hate Apple iTunes but that’s not a debate for here. The fact is I spent years building a collection in vinyl, cassette, CD and now digital but through it all it was mine; to do with as I saw fit.
However it seems that music ownership is going the way of the dinosaur. Global revenues from streaming music services such as Spotify, Pandora, and Rdio will grow almost five times faster than revenues from downloads over the course of this year, according to a new forecast from Strategy Analytics. The research firm predicts that streaming will bring in $1.1 billion in 2012 compared to $3.9 billion from downloads, with overall digital revenues expected to overtake those of physical music in 2015.
Now don’t get me wrong, I understand the whole scarcity and abundance theories and how the recorded music is just becoming a another vehicle through which fans connect with the artist or band but to me its still important. Live performance is indeed the true “scarcity” and therefore often the most valued experience but I don’t get to see every band I want to play live and in some cases I don’t even want to – I just love the track(s) and that’s enough. I made a choice many years ago to posses the music I loved and despite all the advances in streaming technologies and services, I find it hard to place my enjoyment in the hands of an intermediary – what happens if Spotify falls out with a particular record company and I loose my treasured playlist.
And by the way, there’s a reason the title of this post used the word “buy”. I’m pretty sure I’m also one of a dwindling band of consumers who still buy their music.
“Are community clouds the next big thing ?”
Well, that’s what I was asked a while back and it was pretty hard to not allow the questioner to see my eyes rolling back in my head.
For those of you who don’t know; a community cloud is apparently “a collaborative effort in which infrastructure is shared between several organizations from a specific community” and can be “managed internally or by a third-party and hosted internally or externally”…. thanks Wikipedia – where would I be without you. By the way Wikipedia also says that “the costs are spread over fewer users than a public cloud (but more than a private cloud), so only some of the cost savings potential of cloud computing are realized”. Interesting that one as I thought we had already long since established that cloud computing won’t not save you any money – please check out Jevons paradox (i know it dates from 1865 but still relevant).
The problem with the current fad for community clouds is it is likely to be just that – as fad. At its most basic the concept seems to have merit given that no one has really cracked the essential “trust” models necessary to fully drive the exploitation of the space between private and public infrastructures (that’s data centre(s) and the web to most of us; but the “hybrid cloud conundrum” to the marketeers).
And yes, it would be a great idea if organisations in similar vertical markets got together to remove some of the security, audit and compliance FUD that is still around. Sadly however, I fear that where genuine “communities” can be created they will be ultimately self serving and in the areas where communities could add some real value – around security, standards and “trust” – they will be far too difficult to create due to competing interests and priorities.
So who will benefit ?? Probably the large holding companies who can use the “community approach” to knit together the spare capacity across their own organisations and create a shared on-demand capability …. or would that just be internal outsourcing ??