The Webernets



Amazon Cloud PlayerYou people are retarded. I really shouldn’t have been shocked at the averse reaction to my post about the new Amazon Cloud service, but sometimes I forget about the little Internet bubble I live in. People, listen up: in 10 years we’re all going to look back on today’s music collection habits and laugh at how we wasted all that money, time, energy and hard drive space worrying about storing music files because we felt a need to have them in our “possession.” Just like many of us have already realized how silly it is to amass gigantic CD collections that take up tons of space when we can still enjoy our music just as much while storing it on something the size of a book (note: I am not advocating piracy here, just medium of choice). And just like horse-and-buggy proprietors realized 10 years after Ford rolled the first Model T off the assembly line, “Hey, maybe there’s something to them there automobiles after all!”

I’m not wondering aloud whether this will happen with regards to music ownership/listening… I’m telling you that it definitely will. We will all stream our music “from the cloud” in a matter of time, and we’ll all wonder how we ever got along without it. Increased bandwidth will allow for excellent audio quality (HD cable, anyone?), it’ll be way easier than searching for and waiting to download a torrent, and it’ll be cheaper because there won’t be any physical media costs, shipping or middle-men taking a cut. And do give me the “What if the Internet goes down?” shpiel, because if that happens our entire world economy will collapse anyway.

But none of this will happen before label owners do their best to slow down the move to the Cloud in order to eke out every last cent the recorded music industry is good for. The latest fracas involves content owners (labels, publishers) arguing that Amazon should have to buy licenses from them in order to run the Cloud Player, because supposedly serving up music in this manner constitutes “streaming” even though it’s only for personal use. What a steaming, hot pile of bullshit. Thankfully Amazon isn’t caving in, as they clearly enumerated in a letter to said content owners [via Metal Insider]:

There has been a lot of discussion as to whether Cloud Drive and Cloud Player require licenses from content owners.  Here’s why they do not:

(1) Cloud Drive is a general online storage service for all digital files, not unlike Google Docs, Microsoft SkyDrive and any number of other internet file backup services.  It’s your external hard-drive in the cloud.  It requires a license from content owners no more than those other internet file back-up services do and no more than makers of external hard drives for PCs do.

(2) Cloud Player is a media management and playback application not unlike Windows Media Player and any number of other media management applications that let customers manage and play their music.  It requires a license from content owners no more than those applications do.

It’s really that simple.

There has also been speculation that we are looking for licenses for Cloud Drive and Cloud Player. We are not looking for licenses for Cloud Drive or Cloud Player as they exist today — as no licensees are required. There are, however, potential enhancements to Cloud Drive and Cloud Player that would require licenses and that we are interested in — like the ability to replace multiple copies of the same music track uploaded by different customers with a single server copy that could be used for all customers with the same track.  Licenses permitting us to do that would save storage costs and would be good for customers because they would reduce the number of tracks customers need to upload to Cloud Drive themselves.

Expect to hear more from us on potential licensing in the near future – and please let us know if you have any questions in the meantime.

The Amazon Music Team

Seems pretty clear-cut to me. Regardless, I’m sure a flurry of lawsuits from content owners aimed Amazon’s way is sure to follow. It’d be great if we could all just move ahead with music technology at a natural pace dictated by what’s convenient and popular… but nope, the old way of business must be protected AT ALL COSTS because HOW COULD ANYBODY POSSIBLY MAKE MONEY IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS WITHOUT LABELS AROUND?? Oy vey. Worse, this battle isn’t over a true Cloud Player (everything on demand all the time), but just a personal music storage locker of sorts. I think things are going to get much worse before they get better.


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