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Music in The Clouds

July 30, 2009

Thinking about the future again.

A lot is happening and changing (it never seems to stop) in the world of technology and music.  I wanted to focus today’s post on the shift from ownership to access.

As everything tech seems to shift to the cloud, the need for actual storage space on your computer/ipod diminishes. You don’t have to worry about losing your music and files if your hard drive crashes.  The computer world is betting on the cloud with netbooks to be the next big thing.  Super cheap computers with hardly any hard drive space because all your data will be on a cloud hard-drive.

Web-applications are becoming standard (vs downloading software). Speaking of web-apps,  Google Docs is a great example of a web-based app.  Voyno and I wrote the first draft of The New Rockstar Philosophy book using Google docs  to make sure we didn’t lose the working copy (we trusted Google enough).

To catalyze the cloud movement,  the world is going full-on wireless.  You’ll be able to tap into the cloud anywhere and pull/stream songs you want either from Spotify or an online hard-drive with all your songs.

What does this mean for  musicians?

Since the empahsis is going to streaming vs ownership,  a system where people pay a fee for access looks much more viable now than it did a few years back.   It would be a big pot where artists would get paid per stream and labels could pay extra to feature their artists on the main site. You’d still need to promote an artist to get the streaming hits, but I think a lot of people would pay $3-$5/a month for access to all the music they wanted.

Think about this:

If 50 million people across the world (that’s really nothing) paid $3/month for access, that’s $150,000,000/month.  In a year that’s $1,8o0,000,000. That’s not bad.  Sure, there will be a lot of competition for streams if it’s open to any artist, but that’s where marketing comes in.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. fazowiec permalink
    August 4, 2009 5:51 am

    I’m sorry to be a bubble-bursting naysayer, but this is hardly a golden future for the majority of musicians, especially independent ones and I have the numbers to show for it.

    A while back I wrote an analysis of a likely distribution of money from such a model, using even more optimistic assumptions. What it shows (not to much surprise, if you think about it) is that this model is heavily biased towards major labels and somewhat less so towards major label artists.

    To stave off a possible criticism that has popped up before, let me point out that recent research on P2P traffic in music showed that the bias towards downloading hits is even heavier that I had assumed when I wrote this.

  2. August 4, 2009 9:42 pm

    Hey Fazowiec,

    Thanks for the comment. You really are the cynical musician 🙂

    1. This will not be the savior of the music industry. It will be one possible way artists can make some revenue (not guaranteed of course) from the music itself. I still don’t know why you have to make an album that costs thousands of dollars (unless you want to satisfy your own ego) in today’s world. A band could record a 3P and really promote the hell out of it online to generate stream revenue, download revenue, physical sales, merch sales, and/or give it away for free to build an fan-contact list.

    Just because the system is there doesn’t mean you’ll get paid as an artist. You still gotta promote and get yourself noticed. If you’re music isn’t there, you don’t promote yourself, you can complain about no money or just take it as sign to get your ass in gear.

    2. Sure, people may have a bias towards downloading right NOW, but that’s changing.. Hell, I hardly even download anymore. I’ve discovered artists I love just from streaming tracks on YouTube. For the most part, the track will be there again if I want to listen to it again. I rarely buy any music, but I will buy merch, tickets, and if I feel the artist is worth it, I’ll buy the VINYL.

    3. Why do you think making your music available for free is useless? As an artist, wouldn’t you want to have your music shared and spread without any friction?? If you’re good and push hard to get the word out, people will spread the word for you. You rely less on a marketing machine and more on genuine word of mouth. It may take time, but that’s the price you pay if you don’t have the cash to really expose an artist.

    If an artist isn’t getting many downloads/streams (even if it’s available free) it just means the music isn’t very good or they aren’t working hard enough to get the music out there.

    4. I love the fact that you are truth seeker and want to find out the real deal, but I don’t understand why you’re putting so much effort into finding flaws. You seem like a smart guy, why not put the effort into finding more solutions that would benefit musicians?

    Cheers bro and thanks again for commenting.



  1. Volume Eleven - Music News for Music People™

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