Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Digital Music Cloud :: Apple iTunes, Lala, & Grooveshark


Image:: lala logo mashup, digitalmusic.tv

I've been doing startup research on web platforms and was getting information on Pandora and Grooveshark. I wasn't a big fan of Pandora, but this was a while back when it was limited to just the US and it looks like I'm not missing anything being in Canada. I am a big fan of Grooveshark and use it quite a bit to embed songs on my blog posts because it has a huge catalog. In the past, I've used imeem in the past for the same purposes. In December, imeem was bought by MySpace, which has cloud computing implications. MySpace will use imeem on its platform to allow its networked users to discover, share, and even repurpose content. I see the value of MySpace is serving as a place for users to interact around entertainment content.

December was a busy month, as Apple bought lala, in it own bit to remain relevant in it's music cloud, where iTunes allows users to manage their multimedia from any device on the web {desktops, laptops, "pads", smartphones, etc.} I think Apple is taking a step in the right direction by bolstering its sales platform, but I think the devil is in the details of the execution and that there's room for multiple players in this marketspace. iTunes isn't top-of-mind when it comes to users sharing content, which leaves some room for a social networking site. I think MySpace is in a stronger position as a social portal centred around entertainment content. Apple-lala will have distinctive competencies as a sales platform, but I'm curious how good of a job it can do as a virtual content management system.




Image:: Grooveshark interface, popular music tab

Where does that leave Grooveshark and "Internet radio" sites like it? Grooveshark has, in my opinion, a great catalogue of songs. This may be skewed by my tastes, but I've found it has plenty of indie songs, plus mainstream pop, hip-hop, and rock. I haven't really searched the fringes, let alone the genres of jazz, folk, or country, let alone international music. If I were Grooveshark, my interests would be in courting the heavy users and opinion leaders of music, who are also content creators {bloggers, microbloggers—Twitter & Tumblr}, and try to pull a Steve Jobs circa 2003 by showing they can be a huge ally to the industry and put a halt to the lawsuits. That might be a tall order, but the data behind a site with a deep catalogue going far down the long tail can help the industry gain better market knowledge about driving value, not pumping out formulaic hits.

A Grooveshark-driven "radio-like" platform on the Web and mobile web can leverage influential users sharing content to expand audiences, through embedding and sharing of playlists. It can also double as a sales platform with links and contextual ads, but the real value is in the data behind what users are doing. The music industry should be clamoring to collaborate with Grooveshark, not suing them. I also see opportunities for websites/networks like Pitchfork, Stereogum, Filter, and AUX to collaborate with Grooveshark, systematically linking text content on bands to the music content. 

I'm hoping for competition in this arena that allows several entities to deliver slightly different value propositions.

Addendum:: Props to @Grooveshark for understanding how conversations work in social media.

Twitterversion:: Thoughts on Internet music streaming/radio and my high hopes for @Grooveshark, despite Apple-lala & MySpace-imeem mergers. @Prof_K

Song:: Joni Mitchell-"Both Sides, Now"


3 comments:

Richard Urwin said...

Another service swiftly gaining traction is psonar.com. Psonar allows you to upload your entire collection into the cloud for free so you can listen anywhere, at any time - on any internet-connected device - and you can do it right now.

It also enables you to move your music between your devices, a la iTunes, but for every device - phone, mp3 player, computer, etc.

Psonar's music library is made up entirely from tracks the community has uploaded and is unlike most streaming services where the music is predominantly supplied by the major labels - not from smaller artists (since their share of streaming revenue is measured in cents so it isn't worth their while).

Discovery across every track uploaded (you can listen to 30s and then buy it if you like it) plus a bucketload of social features are on the way very soon.

reeta sing said...

i appreciate to richard to say that:
"Psonar's music library is made up entirely from tracks the community has uploaded and is unlike mosthbo live tv streaming services where the music is predominantly supplied by the major labels - not from smaller artists (since their share of streaming revenue is measured in cents so it isn't worth their while)"

Aliza Salvatore said...

Psonar allows you to upload your entire collection into the cloud for free so you can listen anywhere, at any time - on any internet-connected device - and you can do it right now.
music free tv channels library is made up entirely from tracks the community has uploaded and is unlike most streaming services where the music is predominantly supplied by the major labels