A wireless iPod serving as a “wireless digital ladle” could serve as the “future of the music business,” Charles Haddad writes in his latest
Byte of the Apple column
for BusinessWeek Online.
Under his proposed scenario, a wireless iPod could “dip into a nearly bottomless stream of continual music, scooping up any song you wanted, when you wanted, where you wanted.” This would theoretically eliminate the need for CDs, hard drives or any other storage device.
“And trying to capture such music would be about as easy as trapping mist in a jar. Every song would contain a digital expiration date, so, over time, they would evaporate,” Haddad writes. “If there were no need to store music, indeed no way it could be stored, then piracy would go the way of Blackbeard, a spooky tale of yesteryear to amuse your grandchildren.”
The columnist says this could be possible due to a concept called Everywhere Internet Audio (EIA). There are other factors that indicate streaming commercial-free music could work, he adds. The iPod is already extremely popular. For about five years now, cable-TV operators have been pumping commercial-free audio channels to their digital customers, so there is a somewhat similar model. And more and more portable devices — such Palm’s Tungsten PD and the Blackberry — are sporting wireless Internet connectivity.
“These efforts are a good start, but they’re really unconnected dots, forming no real network,” Haddad says. “Apple and the music industry together would have to assemble these disparate parts into a new medium to distribute music. It would require the labels to offer their full music libraries online, and make them available 24-hours a day. This is not only a huge technical challenge, it’s a legal and contractual one, too. The players will have to figure out a new way to gather and distribute revenue generated from music — really develop a whole new business model. That may be a big task for an industry in which executives are often at war with artists.”