We had a great writeup on Five Eight Magazine a couple of months ago. Extremely late getting it onto the blog as we’ve had a few issues with moving and re-installing WordPress. I do absolutely love WordPress, don’t get me wrong, but this has definitely been more trouble than it should have been. Porting the original database over to a fresh install on a new server was remarkably easy, but then the lovely WP uploader failed us:

“Unable to create directory /home/mixcloud/public_html/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12. Is its parent directory writable by the server?”

Aghh!

So one fresh install later and we’re back, finally.

Now to the point. Five Eight Magazine is a great monthly publication from the guys at strategic music consultancy Frukt, described as “music business intelligence”. In their October issue they ran a feature article entitled “The Wisdom of Clouds” – I must say we loved the title! It’s all about Cloud Computing and its implications on file sharing and music consumption.

If you don’t know what Cloud Computing is, it’s one of these buzz-words flying around geek land which stands for remote rather than local storage. I.e. as data storage and transfer become ever cheaper and as we move towards a broadband-everywhere paradigm, it often makes more sense to store things in a central repository that can be easily accessed anywhere and everywhere. Webmail is a great example of this – why be constrained to accessing emails on Outlook only at work or at home when Gmail, Ymail and many more provide effectively unlimited storage. Eric Schmidt (Google CEO) says of Cloud Computing: “Fundamentally, it’s better to keep your money in the bank than in your pocket” (from Five Eight article).

So what does all this have to do with music? Well, lots actually. This is the start of a radical shift away from the generally accepted model of ownership of music (whether this ownership is through legal or illegal means). As far as legal goes, the picture below – “from unit sales to access” – sums it up very well (courtesy of Music Ally).

[click image to zoom]

This chart from Compete.com also shows how popular streaming music is compared to legal downloading:

The Five Eight article takes a very interesting angle on Cloud Computing’s implications on music consumption. “Context is the new content” it says; the industry is striving for new and more innovative ways to allow listeners to engage with their music – “get dirty with it, tear it apart, reshape it, mould it to their will, and then share and seed it within their community”. The Cloud phenomenon is a massive enabler of all these things, facilitating better discovery, sharing and collaboration.

As you might have guessed by now, Cloud Computing is central to the Mixcloud concept. Here’s what Five Eight had to say – happy reading! We’d love to hear your thoughts.
[click image to zoom]

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