I’m almost 30 (well, less than 4 months away), and have been a music fan my whole life. I’ve seen so many changes in how we listen to music that it’s almost a seamless transition from platform to platform.
First was my Alvin and the Chipmunks Christmas Album (Gee I want a hoola hoop), then came my Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation cassette. I also had a Pocket Rocker with mini tapes from The Jets and Belinda Carlisle. Next I owned the Sony Discman and CD player. Then a waterproof CD player. Then Napster and MP3s and torrent sharing through the magical fiber optics of college dorms. CD burning; the revolution of the “mix tape.” Then the ipod launched, creating a feeding frenzy, allowing for a very small device to hold a hell of a lot of music. And other mp3 players followed, then our phones. Then came wireless. Pandora.
And now—the cloud. For music.
Amazon is doing it. Google is doing it. And Apple is coming right up behind next week.
It’s funny, only a few months ago I asked a coworker how come I couldn’t access my iTunes everywhere. Maybe I could, but it seemed too difficult for me, a casual user, to configure.
I discovered Pandora and Grooveshark and built my own, free, personal libraries when I was away from my device or home computer.
No matter what, with the collapse of Napster, the kabash of Limewire, there was always a way to find music and get what you needed. You may not own the music for your very own on Grooveshark, but it was there for you to use.
And now it’s time for what I’m seeing as the next generation of music consumption—the music cloud. You can access your music anywhere and everywhere. You don’t actually have to store it. There are server houses built miles wide for this stuff. Thank you, google. You can upload your iTunes tracks, any kind of downloaded mp3s, all into one system, without taking up any hard drive space on your computer.
This is big. And it’s fast. And it’s here.
Amazon celebrated the launch of their cloud music service last week with a joint marketing campaign with Lady Gaga, selling her new release, Born This Way for .99. This week Amazon Music released the Death Cab for Cutie album for $5. And you know what? You can keep these all in your cloud. Play them on your computer, your mobile phone, probably even on your TV if you want to. It’s all there for you to use. Whenever you want.
Imagine carrying a record player around everywhere. Or one of those boomboxes circa ‘Do The Right Thing.’
Google sent out invites for users to try their cloud music service this week. So far it’s earning rave reviews and weaves well into the google and android fabric.
Apple will release their iCloud service next week.
With the three biggest players in digital entertainment going head to head, the days of storing your music on your computer, may be numbered.
And it all seems so natural, just an evolutionary shift in consumption. Why didn’t we think of this sooner?
But more importantly—what could be next? Technology doesn’t stop for anything…so we may evolve once again sooner than we think.
I, for one, am excited to get my first Cloud mix…just like that good old mix tape.