Cloudy with a chance of meatballs….no wait; cloudy with a chance of MUSIC. That’s it. Apparently, 2012 is the year for cloud-based streaming of music. We saw these cloud-based music operations come to life in 2011, with Apple’s iCloud and Amazon’s Cloud Drive, etc. This year, the cloud’s longevity will be tested.
The reason for this is simple. Consumer expectations have changed. We want our music to be available everywhere we go, on our phone, tablets, and other connected platforms. This creates a competitive landscape and an opportunity for content providers and advertisers alike who have to meet said expectations. While a large part of the challenge to these online services is to keep listeners happy as they tune in on their collection of devices, that’s precisely the opportunity for streaming music as well.
Music collections used to be at home and then moved to your iPod, but then they were purchased, and became a physical library. Cloud-based music can change all of that, listening to streaming services may or may not replace the purchase of music. The jury is still out on that, but maybe not. When looking into Amazon’s Cloud services, for example: I am none too pleased (which is probably why I have never signed up). The ‘free’ option gives you 5GB of storage, which holds up to 1,000 songs or 2,000 photos. If you would like more storage space, surprise J you have to pay for it! 20 GB of storage will cost you $20/per year and 50 GB costs $50/per year. You get the idea.
The real challenge in this major shift from purchasing music to streaming it from a cloud-based service is the money, and the question remains whether or not the services can make money through subscriptions and advertising to cover licensing obligations to make it work. All of these challenges take place within a digital experience that continues to change; mobile commerce, targeted ads, privacy and social media are lending to an increasingly complex online marketplace. And the future has only just begun.