Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Music on the web: Is there a win win situation?

I just heard about the online music station spotify. Sounds like a great solution free access to music that's tailored to your tastes. I used Pandora until it became restricted in the UK and loved it.
some one mentioned this is a beter way of listening than owning hundreds of 99p records. 

While internet availability is restricted to certain areas I think we need offline portable stores of music. As this changes I think that view is correct. We'll start wondering why we can't just listen to the music we want and let the payment get dealt with elsewhere. 

Then it occurred to me, someone's probably already figured this out but I thought what the heck why not put it down anyway. There are already models in place to allocate revenue to artist according to airplay. Delivering music tailored to each individual actually seems relatively easy. Delivered electronically it's easy to track what each individual listens to. Figuring out the costs etc should be simple as long as basic formulas were provided and agreed by the labels responsible for the music. 

It occurred to me  that the labels could provide a licence or similar to relevant online music providers. This licence allows the providers access to the labels tracks. In turn the provider records what each individual listens to. The labels and providers figure out charges and payment, it's all electronic and so should be relatively easy to figure out. Either using a similar model to the airplay licences already in place or taking advantage of the latest technology and calculating costs to the minute detail. 

The individual user could then either pay through a regular or one off fee or something or listen free with the cost covered by adverts.

This follows the trend we're seeing in most areas of online life and provides a way both for labels and artists to get paid and for providers to get access to a lot of quality music. 

The way I'd implement this is through basic API's and shared standards. But then I'm a programmer so that's how I talk. From a business point of view I'd want a simple billing and provisioning service that makes it easy for providers to sign up. Making it easy for a market to appear and multiple providers to enter.

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