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Monday, July 11, 2005

Google, Yahoo & Microsoft To Dominate The Music World

The Internet was supposed to be the great leveler for aspiring musicians Exposure. Opportunity. Fans in different time zones. MP3.com created a virtual music locker that freed music fans from carrying stacks of their favorite CDs around to play through headphones on their personal computers. (This was the pre-iPod era.) An MP3.com server recognized the CDs and tagged them as part of the users' virtual music lockers, accessible on any computer browser with their user names and passwords. MP3.com was way ahead of its time with such an ambitious strategy in digital music. Unfortunately, it was also of questionable legality, because fans were not listening to the CDs they had purchased, but rather to copies of those CDs residing on an MP3.com server. It may seem like a minor distinction, but the five major record labels didn't think so - and they came down hard on MP3.com over licensing issues.
The new names in digital music are familiar, but they specialize in commercial music. Everyone knows Apple Computer as the company that is now moving more iPods than Macs. There are sites out there that specialize in broadcasting the music of the typically unheard, but they are often fledgling operations with limited financial resources. Places like Ampcast, Soundclick, and IUMA are there to stream the unsigned, but it's certainly a more thinly fragmented niche than when MP3.com owned the indie music world. The broadband migration continues. Bandwidth and servers get perpetually cheaper, yet the market seems to think that the only money to be made in digital music is in pitching popular tracks for a buck or less, or coming up with some portable aural smorgasbord solution of commercial tunes. Years from now, the major labels won't be the same batch of old-school vinyl pushers you see today. As ludicrous as it may seem, the real power brokers in the music industry will be Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft.
It may be years before they even come around to connecting the dots, but they will connect those dots. Yahoo! and Microsoft have already joined companies like Apple in selling digital downloads of the established artists – this shall become more and more established.

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Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld
"All views expressed are my personal views are not related in any way to my employer"