Over the past few months I’ve been reading a lot about cloud services, primarily in the context of music. A cloud service is one which allows a user to access digital content, and software, for use while online. If you’ve ever used web mail, this would fall under the definition of “cloud service” just like using an online Google calendar, Flickr account, or a Facebook page would, but it goes deeper than this.
For years there has been talk about a time when all we’ll need is a computer with an operating system, and we’ll log into the Microsoft site to use Word, Excel, etc. – so basically, all we’ll eventually have is the machine (aka computer)… with maybe a browser. The same would apply to games, movies, pictures, graphical content etc. – pretty cool right? I’m not so sure.
The biggest problem now is that cloud services can learn things about you that you may not want them to know. In a recent Washington Times article, I learned the Amazon Kindle operates via a cloud service that knows more about you than you do… apparently the service tracks not only what you’re reading, but when, how much time you spend reading a given page, and other things you may not want Amazon to know. It’s great for marketers, but has the potential of being a bit intrusive.
Despite this, the U.S. govt. has taken note of cloud technology and they like it too – go figure. The unintended consequences of this could get brutal in the future as well.
However I feel about it personally, I can see how services like this, if paid, might actually help resurrect a way for labels, and artists, to have better control over content. Meaning, they might actually make a little cash off music “sales” again, and distribution might be better controlled so creative doesn’t always have to be considered a loss leader. But how do we regulate and charge for these services? It could be a nightmare to see who ends up with what portion of the pie – Do you see lawsuits inerrupting the web landscape over this?
The big cloud music services are available through Amazon, Google and, very soon, Apple. The clever difference between Apple and the others is the Apple device that allows you to stream all your content from your PC or Mac to your iPhone, iPad, or another computer. With this model there’s no need to store your content on an external server, which avoids the downfall of a cloud service site crashing.
Amazon and Google are using servers to allow access to all your content (but you have to place it there as well). The downside to a service like either Amazon or Google is, if either of their sites goes down, you won’t be able to access your content.
If you’re still with me at this point, I’d like to pose a question for some serious thought. Will DAW software be “clouded” in the future, and what would you consider the pitfalls and the successes of this? Please let us know what you think.
For a comparison of 4 major cloud services out there, and some additional reading: ReadWrite Cloud.