The End of Ownership

I first came across the idea of “renting” music when an up-and-coming band, RiverJames, tweeted that they were modeling their music company on that principle. The article is called Spotify, which you may or may not have heard about, depending on how picky you are with your music, but also looks at other media units like MTV and YouTube then examines how most users access media on the cloud. Anyway, read the article here.

I wasn’t convinced the first time I read it that this is the direction the music industry is going. People still come out with CDs, right? They even do CD and DVD combos. Oh, and this is where they get clever, sometimes they even give you bonus tracks when you get the hard media as opposed to buying it from a distributor like iTunes or Amazon. And cmon, some artists even do vinyls! Forget renting music! And then…

And then Rolling Stone runs an article on “Pandora’s Digital Kingdom.” (Article is from the current issue so I can’t link.) Sometime last December, during the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, various devices were tricked out with Pandora integration. These devices included Blu-ray players, tablet computers, and (‘old on to your ‘ats now kids) a Samsung fridge equipped with LCD-screen.

Wow. I couldn’t bring myself to read on without cringing a little. I guess people don’t really care whether they own their media or not. I mean, think of Netflix with movies and Vevo for music videos. As long as people can access their tunes when they want (or, after under a minute of ads), people do not need to own it. I think of this as the end of ownership and the death of analog because I can’t think of it any way else.

But then, maybe, when the moment comes when all songs can be played for free (Pandora has about 850,000 songs on the cloud. Spotify has more, but since the service is unknown those songs might as well not exist.), truly ad-free, then maybe a new kind of ownership can begin. Free love, 21st century style. Think of that world, where great, distributable music can be played by everyone. Peace, love, and free music? Sounds like my kind of world.


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