Let's start again. Ironic that in the project about Cloud Computing I would neglect my blog. Sorry mate.
The Internet changes things. That we know.
As discussed in my dissertation (see previous posts >>>) the music industry is a good case study of this. It's nature of being fairly small files meant that it was the forerunner in a lot of ways.
We had Napster, we have Limewire - these early music distribution tools use open sourcing to share tunes between users, using the new and popular MP3 format.
"I have this great software, you can have it for free!"
"Oh, wow, thanks! I'll share all my music for free and everyone can have everything for free and be HAPPY!"
But the music industry weren't keen on this model - of course they weren't. Traditional record labels were loosing millions of pounds/dollars/yen in this. After all, it was Piracy. Sharing records, while technically not legal, was always accepted. It was so small scale it had no real effect. A massive file sharing network meant the industry had to sit up, take notice, and clamp down.
So hey, great idea from Apple, who with their iPods were largely responsible for the transfer of music to MP3, the iTunes store was born.
"Look guys, you can now legally BUY music on the internet! How neat is that?! It's cheaper than records, and virus free!" "Oh cool, I respect that the artists should be paid for their work. That's cool. I'm in."
And most people were in. Of course piracy will never completely disappear, but with a lot of high profile court cases people were put off. They didn't want to steal music - it was simply the only option to begin with.
And hey... what's this? Oh, it's Spotify. Now there is a nifty idea.
"Hey, you can download this software for free (for a limited time only, or be invited by a subscribed user). Then you can access the music we have (limited access for free users, premium members get all our tunes for a small fee.)" "So I don't have to store it on my hard drive? Awesome! 18GB of music was really slowing up my computer! And I can access it anywhere I have an internet connection? Well with my iPhone, that's EVERYWHERE. Magic! And if I want it for free I just have to listen to a couple of (very smart) adverts every few songs? Hey, I can do that. Thanks!"
So we can see how music on the cloud has progressed from
1) Napster - free software, free to the user, accessible by everyone, illegal
2) iTunes - free software, small pay-per-download fee, accessible by everyone, legal
3) Spotify - free software, free to the user (paid for with ads) or small subscribtion, accessible by everyone (because the users don't OWN the files), legal
We need to watch for stage 4, when the music industry works out how to keep selling us singles, instead of just making a few bob off of Spotify. Spotify must be a threat to them. They are big and strong and angry.