Do We Still Need Local Music Files?
The first time I had any real contact with music was when I was just a little kid. Back then – and I do realize it’s not that long ago – audio cassettes were in fashion, and I remember having a collection that stretched well into the hundreds, creating chaos all over my room. If you wanted, you could record a song off the radio, but that meant a huge sprint and a frantic search for the stereo and the REC button.
I’m not going to walk you through the advance of music listening methods and devices, but I’m going to pose a question: do we live in the first age when we don’t actually need any local music files?
I have wondered this since iTunes first appeared, and made music CDs and DVDs next to obsolete by allowing you to directly download files onto your computer, and transfer them to your phone or iPod. This made things a lot easier for us – in a couple of minutes from first hearing of an artist you could already have his discography downloaded.
Streaming services further simplified this whole process – services like Google Play Music All Access have a huge number of songs and artists, practically every single major artist out there, and most of their albums and songs. These services include other famous ones like Spotify or Pandora – you’ve definitely heard of them.
And this brings us to the present day. You have all these services that are absolutely amazing, and you now have the final piece of the puzzle: more and more mobile carriers have started to give out more and more bandwidth, especially for services like this. In my country, for instance, there are a couple of Spotify-like services for which carriers like Orange or Vodafone don’t have any additional costs, and their bandwidth doesn’t count in your data plan. With this, you have the “perfect storm” conditions for always having your music with you: services that offer plenty of music, and a method for always carrying that music with you – and always listening to it.
Even the mighty Steve Jobs – undoubtedly one of the biggest visionaries in the tech industry – saw the potential of music streaming. Even though in the beginning he was having none of it – as Jimmy Iovine, Beats co-founder, said:
“I was always trying to push Steve into subscription. And he wasn’t keen on it right away. [Beats co-founder] Luke Wood and I spent about three years trying to talk him into it… he didn’t want to pay the record companies enough. He felt that they would come down, eventually.”
It was just a couple of years later that Jobs was heavily investing in such a service. And right he was since this is not only the future, it’s becoming the present.
By Andrei Maguleanu
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