As options for listening to music online continue to proliferate, increasing numbers of fans are redefining their notions of what having a music collection means to them. Looking beyond the indications that consumers are less concerned overall with having a physical product (falling CD sales), we see that, for many, ownership of any form has become a secondary concern to quick and ubiquitous access. These perks, coupled with convenient ways of sharing new found discoveries with members of various social networks, have turned tunes that live “in the cloud” into the preferred choice for a growing amount of music enthusiasts.
Fore those looking for an all you can eat style subscription, services such as Rhapsody and the reformed version of Napster have you covered (and if you happen to be a European iPhone owner, Spotify). Alternatively, radio styled options such as Pandora and Last.fm allow users to create playlists generated around similarities to a favorite artist or song. And finally, there exist a plethora of ways to embed the tune you are currently enjoying into your stream of social updates, thereby instantly sharing your tastes with members of your network and easily starting conversations based on the music. Popular sites include Blip.fm, sort of like a Twitter for music in which members share tracks in real time, and imeem, whose huge library appeals to curious browsers anxious to discover something fresh. These options, and many more like them, offer straightforward integration with social media, giving fans the ability to broadcast recommendations with a single click.