After joining several websites that offer paid music downloads, I had finally given up on ANY music website. Most websites suffer from DMCA and similar legislation that enforces geographic boundaries on copyright, and completely disregard the intrinsic the it-is-everywhere nature of the Internet.
Pandora used to be a standout, but then was hammered into line by its fear of lawyers and lawsuits who chose to play a very conservative hand at a time when bold suits were needed.
As I pointed out in my long letter about Pandora, to which the owner of Pandora Tim Westergren thoughtfully and generously commented, the door is open for a short time for new technology to make inroads into our lives before other technologies come along and crowd it out.
The door for Pandora.com was open, but was firmly slammed shut a few months ago. Naturally, I’m still keen to buy and enjoy online music, but there are so few services that are suitable for me, and millions of other listeners out there. Why?
Because we don’t live in a country with an Itunes store or similar legal venue to purchase music, we don’t have a credit card with an address in one of those countries, and we can’t listen to music services like Pandora.com or many of the other services like XM.Radio online…
As a loyal listener, I’m limited (thankfully) to three primary services for finding my music, and I’m making increasing use of each over the past few years. In fact, it’s almost becoming a habit…
1. Amazon.com where I can legally order and receive CDs, DVDs, and many other physical goods. That’s fine, if I’m already familiar with the artists. (Local radio plays few artists that I really like, mostly it’s mush for the under 17s who buy CDs here). The only downside is that I can’t pay by Paypal which I like.
2. EMusic.com which allows international sales of its music. The upside is that you get to hear a lot of independent music, can download legally, and can burn CDs as you wish. The downside is that you don’t really hear many well-known artists, can only download a certain amount, and don’t get any actual radio streams.
3. Sky.FM is an online radio service that streams dozens of channels along with DI.fm. I enjoy both of these and would gladly pay for them. In fact, as soon as my bill for Emusic.com comes in, I’ll buy a 12-month subscription to SKY.fm. It makes a great difference in my life, as I get to hear the music I can’t find on EMusic.com.
So, one way and another I can find music online. As each of these services innovates, expands and creates new opportunities, it will be much harder for upstarts to grab market share or even mind share. This is all money that Itunes Stores or Pandora or Yahoo! Music or any of dozens of other traditional companies could have had, but now I’m enjoying the different selection. And, like thousands of other music lovers, I discovered something amazing:
There is a WORLD of music outside the big four (‘dumb’) record companies, and much of it is GOOD.
Shhh! Don’t tell SonyBMG! They might try to buy it!