Sharing music over the Internet is almost a teenager these days. It’s turning twelve this summer, and a certain pubescent maturity is starting to kick in. There’s hair down there now.
And like all things reaching maturity, it’s suddenly not so easy for the adults to start bossing it around. This can be seen in Amazon’s new Cloud Player. Nilay Patel writes an excellent article explaining why the recording industry’s lawsuit against Amazon is, basically, groundless:
If you’re a Cloud Player customer, you get a defined 5GB or 20GB of storage, and the music that lives in that storage is your copy. Your copy that you’re allowed to make. It’s not “functionally equivalent” to a fair use copy anymore — it is a fair use copy. I’d even bet that additional purchased songs that don’t count against your cap are actually transferred to your storage and given extra space that doesn’t show up on the meter, because that way each user still has their own copy.
This is going to completely fuck the labels, since they can’t argue that Amazon is making unauthorized copies of songs.
For some time now, it has been clear that the traditional media companies have been fighting a losing battle by holding on to their old business models, trying to lobby and sue their way out of the problem rather than learning the new technology and building on it.
Twelve years in, it seems as though we have reached the moment where technology can check all the music industry’s arbitrary boxes, while still giving the end users what they want.
And the music industry? Still no new business model — it’s left clinging to Apple, with its reliance on overpriced devices and a seriously ill CEO.