The day the Internet was born was the day traditional music distribution died. Once record labels realized that this new technological marvel would allow people to copy and share music they set out to make sure that that never happened. They wanted people to have to buy the CD to hear the music and nothing else. What has resulted is a decade’s long battle between musicians, recording labels and media companies and listeners. If you buy a CD and then lend it to a friend, you are technically in violation of the license agreement. There was a time that they would raid local bars and clubs that ran Jukeboxes claiming that this was also a violation. This is an example of the extremes that media producers have been willing to go to prevent the loss of revenue on record sales. Amazon is the first company to abandon the RIAA and its demands outright
Start the Music
What happened is that Amazon announced the development of a cloud player. Simply put, this is a online music and video player that is now included with Amazon Cloud Storage accounts allowing users to upload media and play it from anywhere. No big deal, right? This is the single most exciting violation of Digital Rights Management (DRM) ever recorded. The record labels are dead set against this, as it allows the user to invite his or her friends to listen as well. Of course, there is security; music can only be played after logging on.
It’s not so much that the Amazon service is that unique, other sites offer similar services, but it is that Amazon is so flagrantly flouting the industry, and the fact that it is one of the biggest online media distributors on the Internet. There are two parts to the Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player offering. The first provides online accessible storage for various files such as photos and documents, and the second is the music service. Anyone with an Amazon account is being offered 5 GB free for the Cloud Player, and an additional 20 GB if you purchase music on Amazon.
The bottom line is simple, on the surface Amazon is offering a free, entertainment service to their clients to purchase music and use the new Cloud Player service. This will drive music sales and many will upgrade to the higher storage creating additional revenue. Music sales would seem like the kind of thing that the RIAA would approve of, but they don’t. From the beginning it was about absolute control, the rules were designed to prevent any possibility of, or encourage anyone to think in terms of, open access to music. While this could be the shot starting the revolution in a small way, in reality the change is inevitable.
Clouds Without Walls
The cloud is coming and tablets are coming too. While there is more storage space on a low-end MP3 player than the Amazon Music Cloud it is significant. Google talked about it, so did Apple but Amazon is first in the gate. The whole computing/internet paradigm is changing. Device commoditization, mobility and universal access to the network are the backbone of the future Internet. Why store your music on your smartphone when you can just log in and enjoy? The PC culture and it associated computer paradigm are fading, leaving the glow of the monitor like the smile of the Cheshire Cat. The very concept of local storage will fade as will the idea of an independent computer. There will be only access screens of different sizes. Music, along with all other forms of media will have to change, the notion of copyright, as a means of controlling access will have to change to adapt. This is just the beginning of the change. There will be more to come.
About the Author:
Jon T. Norwood is a managing partner at High Speed Internet, a site dedicated to providing information on Internet Providers and Technology. Jon can be reached at email@example.com.
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