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!