Monday, Mar. 22, 2010

Living in the Cloud

Get ready for your files to start living online, rather than on your computer. One of the most highly anticipated speakers at SXSWi was Daniel Ek, CEO of Spotify, a popular European music service that offers millions of songs streaming on-demand. Launching the service in the U.S. has been complicated by licensing issues with record companies, and there was hope Ek would announce a U.S. launch date at the festival. (He didn't.) Still, the service — and competing U.S. friendly offerings like Mog — manage to make the iTunes model of having a library of downloaded music look downright anachronistic. Who needs to rip CDs or buy songs when nearly any song imaginable is available, providing you have an active Internet connection? The argument becomes even more compelling when mobile applications are taken into account — Mog announced that its app will roll out in spring, with a subscription fee of $10/month.

Expect similar revolutions to take shape in video. Netflix already offers a library of thousands of streaming videos, and Major League Baseball lets subscribers watch any game on-demand. Rumors that cable networks such as ESPN are considering offering themselves through platforms like the Xbox are keeping the idea of taking TV into the cloud on the front burner.