DRM, The music business has to change, again.

I have a friend who has a site called Howzitsound. He wants to change the way we listen to music. But he wants to be unlike all of the others… Where have we heard that before? If you must know, I’m still in favor of changing the way we listen to, access, and share music, as it stands today. But by no means do I think the current model works. The system is still flawed. In fact there is a great blog post about it right here by Ian Rogers, who seems to understand that, we as listeners and purveyors of music are tired of being played<—pun intended.

What my friend wants to do is open up Howzitsound to the best and the brightest, to build the model that works best for them. He wants Howzitsound to contribute something positive to the music industry. Something sustainable. His problem is, he just doesn’t know what it is. What that ideal model is. I got news for him, neither does anyone else. Think things are ok? tell that to the woman who just lost a court case against the RIAA to the tune of<—pun intended, $200,000! Thats right she was made the poster child for anyone who has downloaded music illegally.  Oh and she has 2 children too. I’m thinking the 10-20-life law might apply here, what do you think? What message did they send by doing that? Was it necessary?

So back to what would a viable web 2.0 music model look like? What would it need to have in regards to having a large scale buy in<—-pun intended, from all of the labels as well as the current keepers of the keys to the kingdom?

What do users want? What I do know is that what they want, is to play their music on any device, access the music from any site, and have it be compatible with anything; Car, house, device, you name it. They don’t want to have to jump through hoops time and time again, and they want access to the largest catalogue possible. I hear you led Zep and Radiohead fans!

 Now I’m getting excited, look how it’s now we and not they… 🙂 We want widgets, we want contextual apps, so that we can listen to similar music, we want to be able to share our playlists and we want it to be affordable. The only problem with that limited wish list is, that like Ian Rogers said, we’ll have to wait, roughly 8 years for even the smallest of miracles in regards to headway.

Tell me what we need to do!!! Lets help my friend at Howzitsound. Someone turn him on to someone else…and lets change the music business again, lets let the users decide for a change!

It’s not about Google, It’s Yahoo… Sorry MySpace..

Raise your hand if you use or access all three of the aformentioned.  Ok, I know we all use Google for something, and we all probably have a Yahoo mail account for some reason, and well MySpace… It’s something all together different, But I bet you have vistied a couple of MySpace pages. Hell, you might even have a MySpace page! If so…My bad..

 You see the first 2 sites have a specific purpose whereas MySpace is more “me-time” oriented.  The simple fact that we talk about MySpace in the same breath as a Yahoo mail or Google, is in and of itself an amazing phenomenon. Given it’s realtively short history.

As a social network app., MySpace doesn’t appeal to me that much. The technology that surrounds it does, but thats because I’m sorta “tech-y-geeky”. But we need to look at the demographic for MySpace to fully understand the impact of it. It’s geared towards 18-24 year olds, but it extends in either direction as well. i.e. 50 year olds use it and so do 15 year olds. But what it tells you, is that people are starved for self expression. Starved to meet someone or with the hopes that someone wants to meet them. They should call MySpace a Viral network thats connected by social norms. MyViralSpace.

I heard a comment last night on 60 minutes, that the internet is a  direct reflection of society. I always knew it, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized it is so true.  We want to meet other people, we want to be with those people and we want to be rich and we are motivated by things that will pleasure us and we dont want to work for our money, we want to slack off and and we want to have fun. All of the motivators of our off line world transposed online. As if our lives our now 2-D. the online life and the offline. See–>Second Life.

So Yahoo seems to cover it best. Just compare the Google interface with Yahoo. Yahoo is a portal, Google is not. Google is search, Yahoo is more like the place you stop to get your coffee, grab the paper, talk to someone real quick, read your mail, pay a bill, check a score and find out who is sleeping with who before you head to work or start work. Google is for checking for George Clooney’s house pics in Italy, seeing if your old college roomate is in jail, and researching for jobs in a bigger city than the one your currently in. Google is a tool. Yahoo is a resource and MySpace is a nightclub. MySpace is where people go to cruise for others and share their sense of wannabe coolness.

Can all three exist? You betcha, but where they all will stumble is when they think they can  do something that the other is doing, and do it better. Google as a portal? Maybe. Google as a social network, no chance in hell. Yahoo as search, holding their own, Yahoo Mash? The jury is still out. MySpace as a search tool, uhhhhh no. MySpace as a portal, well it sorta is, but not in the literal sense.

Ultimately, as they say content is king and thus Yahoo has prevailed up to this point because the content changes daily, hourly etc. MySpace may have some value in it’s ability to mine the data, but as a destination location, not gonna happen. And Google, well Google is as Google was. The bottom line, they all serve an audience that wont’ be going away anytime soon. At least for the next 12 months