Were Major Labels Right To Stay Away From The Cloud … And Should We Too?

David GreenbergCyde Smith and I recently shared our thoughts on the launch of cloud music services from Amazon and Google. Today, Robin Davey (@mr_robin_davey), a musician, artist and Head of Music & Film Development at GROWVision Media weighs in.

image from www.google.com With the recent launch of Amazon and Google's music in the cloud services, the press embraced the apparent notion that these media conglomerates were showing the Majors Labels the middle finger. Supposedly surging forward without the labels consent and stepping into the next generation of music delivery.

Did anyone stop to think that the Majors lack of involvement might not be so combative? Perhaps they just have no interest in investing the time, money and effort, into something that appears to be an expensive, and unnecessary alternative to iTunes.

Maybe the Majors got it right for a change. They have enough trouble trying to get people to pay for music. Why on earth would they want to be involved with something that charges a fee, not for the music itself, but for the space it occupies. With Sony’s Online Entertainment servers recently being hit by excessive downtime, the timing couldn’t be worse for companies wishing to flaunt the accessibility of cloud based music services.

Both Google and Amazon offer limited free subscriptions, however, anyone considering the investment in time, should also look at services in the past that offered limited free options alongside premium services. Ning - the website/social network service is a prime example. Once it felt it had enough people invested in it’s system, they decided to cut the free service altogether, leaving users with no option but to pay up or get out.

So in theory these cloud base music service are holding your content hostage. At any moment your supposed free storage space, filled with your music that you spent hours to upload, could get an unexpected pricing hike. Without your monetary investment your content is locked away until you agree to pay the ransom. Gives another meaning to the “Amazon Locker” doesn’t it.

When companies get too big they always forget their roots. They forget that when they started they were just a couple of guys in a room with a great idea. That idea grew organically and flourished into something because people embraced it and found they couldn’t do without it.

The next big thing in music delivery and discovery will not be something that the media giants discuss in a boardroom, and in turn throw millions of dollars at. Whenever this happens, the overheads are so vast that in order to make it work, they have to incorporate some sort of pay structure. With music, haven’t we seen time and again, that this simply doesn’t work?


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