Cloud music: Apple set to clean up
Thanks to fanbois, apparently
Never underestimate the power of an incumbent. And never underestimate the willingness of Apple's user base to try new products bearing the fruit logo.
A poll of Cupertino fanbois by NPD has found a remarkably high willingness to pay for a 'cloud' music service. The researchers extrapolate that up to 15 million fanbois would try a free, Apple ad-supported Spotify clone, and between seven and eight million would pay $10 a month for it.
(That seems to be the sweet spot for subscriptions - although We7 and Spotify both offer an ad-free version for a fiver a month, with the tenner-a-month deal adding mobile access.)
With Google and Microsoft trying to muscle in on this space and startups including Skype founders Rdio and Michael Robertson adding streaming to MP3Tunes, it's getting very crowded. ISPs are keen to offer cloud streaming - this includes would-be freetard folk heroes TalkTalk.
Unfashionable Rhapsody plugged away at this for years, but the success of We7 and Spotify has caused a stampede. The web business, like the music business, moves like a herd.
Spotify, of course, is trying to knock iTunes off its perch - it can now swallow your local music library without so much as a burp. And if you don't have an iPod or iPhone, and have zero music to begin with, it could seem pretty attractive.
It continues to mystify me that people who on principle never bought a DRM-encrusted digital download, happily reach for their wallets to carry around Spotify's DRM-encrusted music - locked in a closed, proprietary system. Either they don't give two hoots, or haven't noticed yet. ®
Who-o-why-o-why are we being offered music in lossy format ? Compressed formats were for the days when storage was small and expensive. Let me buy it uncompressed please. For small devices, I'll compress it myself.
And ditch the over equalization too.
What DRM infested stuff from iTunes? Oh, you mean the stuff they were selling a few years ago at the request of the labels, before switching to (mostly) DRM free stuff (and optionally upgrading everyones libraries for a small fee per track, including the bitrate). Unless you are one of those who thinks that AAC = evil, in which case there is no hope for you.
And tenner a month = 120 quid a year. That works out at 15 DRM-free albums on iTunes at the standard price of £7.99 (YMMV), and you don't have to dick about with Spotify's crap interface, or worry about it being blocked by proxies / firewalls. Oh, and you can also carry it with you offline.
If you want to listen to music to hear new stuff, then there is always BBC 6 Music, and the DJs rock.
"Also, iTunes is only DRM free if you are stuck in the last century."
Er, no. The music is DRM-free. End of. There's no "if". No "but". The "FairPlay" DRM is now only applied to video media.
This is NOT the fault of Apple: it's the labels and publishers you need to have a whinge at. The same labels and publishers who want to charge you a monthly fee to listen to music, instead of letting you *own* it. How quickly people forget who *owns* Spotify.
Consider this: if an independent musician wanted to sell his new album directly through iTunes, with none of the traditional labels or publishers involved, he can do so. Good luck doing that with Spotify.
Spotify *increases* the old guard's stranglehold over music.