Image: Primus Inter Pares
I believe that without the iPod there would be no cloud. Without the realisation by Apple that they could equip people with a device that would enable them to carry around their entire music collection in their pockets, we wouldn’t have access to services in the cloud today. There would simply be no demand for them.
So what did bring the demand?
We didn’t just go from a Sony Walkman tape player to 160GB iPod overnight. There were cumbersome CDs, minidiscs and MP3 players with solid state memory. But none could carry a complete comprehensive collection. You still had to choose the music you wanted to carry. But with the introduction of the cloud this is no longer be a necessity.
The Cloud and Musical Discovery
It could be argued that people having such fast access to individual songs has led to less organic music discovery by the audience, with people only picking the song MP3’s that they want to download by familiarity rather than listening to a greater range of work. Personally I think that the introduction of cloud services may help to reve
rse this change. Streaming services such as Spotify and Deezer give instant access to music with minimal financial investment, allowing musical discoveries to be more exciting than ever before!
The Technology is There
With cheap server hosting
now widely available, the push to store information in the cloud has increased. Not only is it easier for consumers to be able to access all of their personal files online with services such as Dropbox, there are also advantages for companies to have a hand in where your media is kept.
With the ever changing online landscape, it is no longer feasible to offer customers a one off price to buy services. The devices people use change constantly, so it makes sense for companies to offer services that can be synced to other devices from the cloud.
Of course the benefit for companies that distribute this media is that a subscription has a low entry price per month so that you will capture a larger impulse audience. Free introductory offers also stimulate the market, and of course once a company has your credit card details they will try everything to hang on to them.
So cloud technology is giving us the greatest choice of content that we have ever had, whilst using advanced in technology in the most efficient way possible. Soon, carrying around a hard drive full of music is going to seem very old fashioned indeed. That could spell the end for iPods as we know them, until they move to the cloud that is.
James Duval is an IT expert who still regrets having a minidisc player installed in his car. He currently writes blogs for Connetu about his technology misdemeanours.