Amazon has launched a new service where you can store your music on-line and access it from anywhere. It only has 5GB of storage (I have 30GB of legally owned music) but it is a good start. I will wait till it is enough storage to upload all my stuff because I don’t want to waste loads of time deciding which 5GB I like best, but I rarely listen to music outside the home anyway so there is no hurry for me.
I have not bought much music on-line because I generally haven’t liked the terms and conditions. I do subscribe to a couple of music services, but the tracks I want are often not available. Many old bands don’t have their music on such sites, but it is their music I often need because I own it on vinyl LPs, not MP3 or CDs I can scan in. It is more important of course to have your tracks online if you only have them on vinyl because it takes forever to convert them otherwise. A proper cloud service would be an ideal solution to this problem surely. I would like to be able to take my vinyl records in to some place and have the barcodes scanned to prove that I own them, then given lifetime online cloud access to the tracks as if I had bought them online. They could take and trash the vinyls if they want once I get lifetime access to the digital versions.
And lifetime access for me is really the issue I have with all these kinds of services. Is it a short term thing that lasts as long as the company or till the next disk crash, or is it a genuinely lifetime ownership deal? I have only bought a few tracks online and I have already lost some of them due to PC rebuilds -I may have some license somewhere that allows me to recover them, but I didn’t make any not of how to do so, so regardless of theory or principle or legality, I have effectively lost them in practice. Having cloud solutions with ownership stored properly and with easy intuitive mechanisms would be good, but only if it doesn’t depend on the company surviving. Much as I like Amazon, they may not be around in 25 years. I don’t want my music to vanish if they do. There needs to be a company-independent ownership database for online content storage and access rights that will never expire. The music industry could do that if they cared to. At the moment, they gain too much by selling duplicates (while whining about theft).
So, nice news, another step in the right direction, but there is still some way to go before online music is anything like mature.