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Saturday, June 19, 2010

The (Near) Future of Digital Music and MP3s

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I'm no Bill Gates or Mark Weiser, but I have been active around the digital music space for roughly over 15 years, including its first incarnations in 1993 through 1999, where the wild west of P2P distribute such as Napster began. But again, I'm no expert - just a digital philospher. So, let's talk a thing or two about the future of digital music, shall we?

It used to be all the rage how awesome it was to get a CD down to 128 kb/sec. 11 times smaller than a normal CD - nuts! These days, we've got enthusiasts up in arms about lossless and vinyl collectors waving their LPs around for a savior to come save our ears from digital annihilation of good sounding music.

There's a few things we can all agree on though. Hard drive sizes seem to be no longer an issue. By the end of 2012, we can expect to all have enterprise-grade hard drive storage in our digitally connected homes.

For me, the next logical step is an obvious one. Cloud music. Lossless media encoded in the highest formats available, all available from any media streaming device with WiFi. Social sharing. Music was meant to be shared with others. I'm not talking P2P - but actual rich media platforms that allow for active collaboration, collecting, and showcasing. Lastly, monetizability (as well as a few other things). It's gotta make money. At least for the industry folks, this one is vital.

Take Apple. They bought up Lala.com not too long ago, so I imagine they already have the same idea and are off to a head start - I'm a bit curious myself to see how they plan to pull it off. But the idea of no more MP3's stored on our laptops that's the attraction factor here. It's about freeing up hard drive space for applications rather than digital media. It's detaching our worries of losing our collections one day from a freak fire accident. All of these things provide an interesting prospective for a digital media future that's already moving towards that direction.

Now, if we can get cloud storage space with no caps and control those money-hungry ISPs looking to find any excuse to put a cap on our data bandwidth usage, then yeah - we might be soon enjoying our digital lifestyles with one less device to worry about; no more external hard drives!

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