There is no question the idea of turning music into a service rather than a commodity has achieved critical mass, getting prominent placement in America's "newspaper of record," the NY Times, in the last week alone. Of course EVERYONE is talking about the future of music now that the RIAA is extort money out of 12-year-old girls who live in subsidized housing.
Just yesterday in the Times, Steve Lohr looked at the very design of the Internet as forcing as drastic change in the way we view intellectual property, concluding and Internet tax may be the answer.
Today, Don Tapscott looks further ahead to a wireless digital jukebox:
- Instead of clinging to late-20th-century distribution technologies, like the digital disk and the downloaded file, the music business should move into the 21st century with a revamped business model using innovative technology, several industry experts say. They want the music industry to do unto the file-swapping services what the services did unto the music companies - eclipse them with better technology and superior customer convenience.
Their vision might be called "everywhere Internet audio.'' Music fans, instead of downloading files on KaZaA - whether they were using computers, home stereos, radios or handheld devices - would have access to all music the record companies hold in their vaults. Listeners could request that any song be immediately streamed to them via the Internet.
....Consumers could still ask for song titles or artists, as they do now on KaZaA. But they could also, for example, request rock 'n' roll tunes that appeared for more than three weeks in Billboard's Top 10 during the 1960's. Or ask for early 1990's guitarists that sound like Eric Clapton, or new artists similar in style to Alanis Morissette.
....If it worked, it would be as if we each had our own private satellite radio channels - customizable collections of tunes for hundreds of millions of audiences of one. It is a compelling business model, and the current music companies, as the owners of the content, could be at the fore of designing the system.
....it now appears that Wi-Fi hotspots - wireless Internet access hubs - may eventually provide blanket coverage in urban areas and become the dominant means of connection.
....How this would work is already causing hot debate. Mr. Griffin and many others in the pholist.org [yeay pho!] discussion advocate an Internet fee that would create a revenue pool to be distributed according to song popularity. Current recording industry sales in the United States work out to about $2.50 a month per person.