Friday, August 27, 2004

The future of Music (and all other media)

The RIAA and Justice department are back at it again. Trying to catch people, no school children!, who have been downloading music files illegally!

I wonder how long this ridiculous state of affairs will continue.

Currently, if I have to play a music file which I've (ahem!) converted from my legally bought CD anywhere at any time, I have to do a number of things. I have to keep the file on my computer. I have to copy it on an MP3 player which I can carry around. I will also probably have to broadcast it on internet radio if I want to hear my music from another PC connected to the internet (the one in Hawaii, of course!!). And finally, I have to save it on another device as a backup!!

That's really too much of a pain.

These are "Why not"s which I think will ease that pain forever.... and not only for me!

Why not have all my music on a central server? And then I can hear it from any PC on the internet anywhere, right? Even the one in Hawaii! I pay a nominal charge to the chap maintaining the server for the space he provides me.

To take it another level higher, I'm sure that the same chap will be playing the same file to other listeners as well, right? So, do I really have to buy that song? Why don't I pay him some nominal (and I mean very, very nominal!) charge each time I play that song?

Let's notch it up one more. Why don't listeners with similar tastes in music share their playlists through this ISP. Or rather I choose to listen to another playlist which I think is close to my taste. Why can't the chap maintaining the server (yup, the same guy!) create a web site like musicplasma from where I can pick up lists?

And then why can't industries who own all this media, say Sony or Time Warner, put all their media on the internet so that my server guy can serve me that too? BBC has already started putting their stuff out there (going back all the way to 1934!), so why can't the rest of the industry do the same?

And with the current trend in wireless connectivity increasing, I think it shouldn't be too long before every device has an IP address! So I should be able to hear 'my music' on my handheld (phone, PDA, watch, whatever!) as long as I'm in a wi-fi hot spot.

Finally, all this can be beamed by Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB), which promises higher quality on smaller devices, and I'm sure they'll get smaller as time goes on. By the way, the same thing can also be done with video, and guess what it's called! And if my lists get more clicks then I get a credit! Why not? After all, we listen to different radio stations for their selections. So whoever is hosting my list has more users to gain, right? I think that would open a new economic niche!

Of course, this would require a whole lot of initiatives from a whole lot of different industries, and yes, it would require visionaries, in the ISPs, in the content providers, in the music & movie industry. And please, please it would really require better websites!

And my final question - Why doesn't the RIAA and all these other chaps stop chasing people around and do some real work? According to me, the 'Recording Industry Association of America' should be ultimately responsible for giving the users of their products the best experience possible out there.

Or did I get that last one wrong?!!


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