Is Accessibility About to Overtake Ownership?

Greetings from the sky! I’m writing this on my flight back to Seattle from Boston and noticed that the tech-news-o-sphere is all abuzz about Amazon’s new cloud music products recently announced. In a nutshell, Amazon automatically now is giving its MP3 customers accessibility to their music anytime and in any place via an online digital media locker (“cloud drive”) and an online music “cloud player”.

My predication is that this is the beginning of consumers (mass consumers, not just early adopters) migrating from an ownership mentality to an accessibility mentality. Here’s what I mean:

Moving from the CD to the MP3 was the first shift for me. I remember a few years ago when I still preferred to purchase CDs and then rip a copy for myself so that I’d have my music both in digital format and in a physical format. It was important for me to “own” it and know that I had something tangible.

But then I started realizing what a hassle that was and began just purchasing MP3s without CDs. Nowadays, ironically enough, my biggest concern (in terms of managing my media) is dealing with the limitations of my “ownership”. I like to listen to music on my computer(s), in the car, during a workout, while playing Xbox, at home, at work, during travel, etc. etc.

And it’s not just music, it’s all my media (movies, shows, music, pictures, and books). My biggest constraint is often figuring out which device has how much storage and how best to micromanage my “ownership” to optimize my usage of particular media on-demand.

In short, my perceived need for local “ownership” is a pain. Wouldn’t it be great if ownership wasn’t the first priority? Imagine a world where storage space is no longer an issue. Your media content is online, “in the cloud” in such a way that you can get to it from wherever you are.

That’s not what Amazon announced. But rest assured, that’s where media consumption is going. And I can’t wait!

  • C_Diltz

    Imagine a world where your servers are down and you can’t listen or watch anything 🙁

  • I’ll take that imagination over the current reality of my “server” being down by default all the time when I’m not near my main computer where all my data is. 🙂

  • Also, from another thread via Google Buzz, someone mentioned this wouldn’t be a great thing because telecom companies seriously need to boost the speed and reliability of their networks first. My answer:

    It doesn’t have to be an “either/or” world. I think we’ll see a hybrid approach which alleviate some of the network connection issues as part of the transition. Xbox Live / Zune services already do this. When I buy/rent a movie, I can choose to download, stream, sync, or some combination. Bottom line: accessibility doesn’t mean cloud only.

  • What is really the value of owning a movie? Being able to watch it any time I want. Guess what? You don’t need to own a movie any more to be able to instantly watch it. I have movies I own on DVD that I have watched on Netflix streaming just because I didn’t have to go get the DVD out.