Free streaming music service Qloud may spell more insecurity in an already insecure industry. Qloud, which debuted as a Facebook-based application a few months ago, is now ready to merge with other social networking sites. I think I’m on Facebook. . . aw, who even cares?
Those filthy pushers in the music industry, that’s who.
Here’s the hook: Qloud features its own built-in social networking tools and a "music discovery system" made possible by an iTunes plug-in (or widget, or whatever they’re called these days).
This means you can listen to all of your friends’ music libraries whenever you want. No, you can’t download songs. But new mobile devices with streaming capacity mean you can rock out anywhere, so what does ownership even matter?
The service was co-founded by former AOL (yikes!) execs Toby Murdock and Mike Lewis. Board members and investors include Chris Blackwell of Island Music (also known as the man who brought Bob Marley to pot-smoking college kids), and industry string-pullers Paul Vidich (Warner Bros.) and Tom Ryan (EMI). Bet this crew use words like "innovate" and "saturation" a lot. They probably do yoga with Rick Rubin, too.
See, the geniuses behind Qloud believe that once people are hooked on their friends’ jamz, they’ll actually purchase music of their own. I predict the endless streaming of stuff already jacked from *the tubes.*
Still, the concept is pretty cool. But ask yourself: do you really want your "friends" to know everything you have in your iTunes folder? Or maybe that’s just the Hall & Oates fan in me talking.
The soon-to-be-relaunched Lala.com promotes the same basic theory: offer people free streaming access, and they’ll purchase more product. Or maybe they’ll just steal more.
Our pals at Highgate wrote a bit about the shuttering of invite-only torrent site Oink, which, while patently illegal, was certainly beloved. (The post also mentions the death of the online rag Stylus). I offered the following wisdom in the comments:
Somewhere between the music industry’s colossal betrayal of the consumer and the immense promise of the internet lies a model through which artists can get paid for their work without being ripped off by either the record labels or an unethical public conditioned to believe that all music should be free.
I’m guilty of wishful thinking, too.