Tuesday, August 09, 2005

In the year Two Thousanddddddd...

... all the music ever recorded will be on your iPod... whether you want Mr. T.'s Rap Song or not!

So saith Sid Karin:

We've hardly seen anything of what's going to happen. That's what I think people miss. There seems to be something in the human condition that sees whatever is at the moment and thinks that it is going to be that way. It's sort of the same as thinking we're on a curve that has been very steep and has now leveled off. But the rate of change is actually increasing, not decreasing.

I was reading somewhere that someone soon will have terabyte-scale disk drives in laptops, and therefore in iPods and things like that. Well, no one's going to buy a song when they've got a terabyte iPod. They'll buy all of recorded music. We haven't come to grips with that. It's not just that all this info is available on the Web to anyone who can run a browser. It's much greater than that. You will soon buy a license to all recorded music for all time -- it's going to be trivial to give everyone their own copy of all recorded music.

More choice quotage:

You say that you think the recording industry has its head in the sand?

Up to its ankles. People started exchanging MP3s independent of whether they had a right to or not, several years before iTunes came along and provided what the industry says is the only legitimate model for it. During those years of exchange the recording industry got exactly zero revenue (from it). Zero. That doesn't seem very smart to me. They could have gotten a huge amount of money excepting some losses. Free downloads don't work. It just takes too much time and energy. And a dollar a song is too much. You need to be able to populate things cheaply.

So there's a Russian music site called "All of MP3.com." First, it sells you music by the megabyte, not by the song. And it allows you to choose the resolution. For a typical song, the price is about 16 cents. That's really cheap. One day in the office I wanted to listen to some things I had, but they were at home. But wait a minute, I thought. A song is sixteen cents. What do I care? Then I realized that there's not a whole lot of point in moving music from one computer to another. It's easier just to pay for it again. The conclusion is that when the price is low enough, people will buy more because they'll buy multiple copies. It's easier than doing anything else with it. That's the kind of thing that the recording industry has missed. They've missed that a bunch of people download free music they already own for one reason or another. And they miss the whole idea that the credit card companies have, which is that OK, we'll get 5 percent fraud or whatever, so we deduct that 5 percent from our profits, add it to our cost base, and we've got a pretty successful business here.

The recording industry suffers from what we often see in the computer security industry: people reject anything that doesn't work 100 percent of the time under all circumstances. Well no one lives that way, why does your computer have to work that way? You probably wouldn't ride a motorcycle with bald tires and no brakes at 150 mph down the freeway. But you might a new motorcycle with a helmet cautiously on the freeway. You're less likely to get killed. The recording industry hasn't figured that out.


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