The Cloud Of The Future

Why own a hard drive at all, when the entire history of recorded music will be available on demand from the cloud in the form of audio, performance video, tablature, MIDI or notation? No digital native, me, but I think people like owning objects, particularly decorative objects that enhance their lives and surroundings, and will likely continue to do so. I think that when you separate the music from the object it’s embedded in, it loses all value, because it can then be infinitely copied at no cost. On the other hand, we now have picture frames that play slide shows with musical accompaniment. We’ve never really sold the music itself, what we’ve been selling is the soundtrack to our fans’ lives; a subtle yet significant distinction. We provide not content, but lifestyle. Music consumers (odd term, that; what exactly gets consumed?) pay very little for terrestrial radio; the price of the player, possibly a few batteries and the amount of our time and attention the advertisements take up-THAT is last century’s discovery engine; the new ones are faster, better, more efficient, and will certainly have a place in Music 2.0. Still, I think there’ll also be a place for a musical object. I hope the next one will be as beautiful as the stacks of vinyl LPs I still keep around.

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