At The Drive-In What Game Has Their Music Been In The Future of Online Music

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The Future of Online Music

To know where online music is headed, it’s important to understand its history. Let’s remember when music downloads first became popular. For me, it was spurred on by the early days of Napster. Everyone was there, obsessed with getting all the music they could find. Then the RIAA came along and said, “Wait, what you’re trying to download is our copyrighted content.” Since then, the RIAA has waged an uphill battle to end piracy.

After the dawn of Napster and peer-to-peer file sharing, new sites have sprung up that offer legal music downloads. Even Napster has legally signed deals with major labels to give them unlimited access to their products. To make this happen, the recording industry had to come up with a way to protect their investment.

Along with that comes digital rights management (DRM). New DRM technology is used to restrict access to media. Basically, you can download and listen to as many songs as you like, as long as you subscribe to Rhapsody, for example. It can also be played on any mp3 player (except iPods and Zunes). DRM starts by limiting the number of devices you can access and cutting access completely when you end your subscription.

Additionally, companies have chosen to implement their own branded DRM. This means that if you own an iPod or Zune player, your options are very limited. Apple and Microsoft do their best to force users to use iTunes and the Zune Marketplace.

Over the last few years, the situation has changed considerably. Online retailers such as Amazon and Wal-Mart have struck deals with major labels to sell downloads of his DRM-free songs. The key here is that you pay for each MP3 song you download, but you get the music without DRM restrictions. Even iTunes has started offering DRM-free downloads.

Another challenge facing online media companies is the battle for ISPs to reduce network traffic and ease congestion during peak hours. Lack of network infrastructure is a major concern, especially in the United States. Throttling traffic or charging customers for pay-per-use access, as Comcast and Time Warner are currently testing, can drive customers away. We no longer live in a world of text emails and static web pages. The site now offers rich content such as audio and video streaming, social integrations, and interactive settings that bring people together like a local watering hole. We hope that customers will voice their concerns and ISPs will be able to expand their network infrastructure to meet their ever-increasing bandwidth needs.

So where does this leave us? Before I rant, I recall mentioning excitement about the future of online downloads. Online music sites look to the future. The ability to download songs to your PC, mobile phone, or other web-enabled device gives you access to the latest songs anytime, anywhere. Sites like eMusic, Amazon MP3, and Wal-Mart Music show that DRM-free music is the way of the future. The next step is for sites like Rhapsody and Napster to come up with a way to give unlimited access to his DRM-free music for a monthly subscription fee. I will be the first to admit that this is no easy task and can be hugely rewarding for the music industry in this ever-growing digital age.

The excitement isn’t limited to music, as companies such as Netflix are offering subscribers a wide range of free movie downloads. Don’t just watch it on your PC. Set-top boxes allow you to download movies and watch them directly on your TV. Industry experts predict that within a few years we won’t be making trips to the local video store to rent the latest DVD movie. Instead, you can download it and watch it on demand anytime. Okay so I can hear some of you saying that, how long does it take to download a movie? Netflix lets you start watching about 30 seconds after it starts downloading . The rest of the movie will be downloaded while you are enjoying the movie.

In conclusion, the future of online media looks bright. Consumer spending habits help record labels and his ISPs accept that the future of music and movies lies online, not in record and video stores. The instant satisfaction of having access to millions of songs or thinking of a movie and then he watches it a minute later makes me want to stop typing. Sit back, relax, and enjoy what the future holds.

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