Spotify is the future and end of music

Spotify is the place in technology where my deep appreciation of what 'average normal people' care about and what I (as a geek and music collector) care about are at odds.  
In some way or form, I suspect that what Spotify is or does is going to be the way music is commonly distributed.  Its all going to be out there, subscription based for the masses to consume all-you-can-eat.  The ability to listen to what you want, when you want, and not really 'own' anything is probably the way most average consumers care for it to work, but not the way I feel very comfortable working.  I feel the need to 'own' my media… and the idea of it being on-demand out there for everyone just feels strange to me. It feels as if the music is losing its soul or becoming a commodity.  I can see where the future is going and I don't like it.  It is a weird and uncommon feeling and makes me feel old despite having gone 100% digital

What AmazonApple and Google are doing may not really compete with the huge ton of people that just want to listen to whatever Ke$ha just shat out and then move on.  

Let's obsess about what is best for the end user

Let’s obsess about what is best for the end user. We often make product decisions based on strategic alignment, partner requests or even legal advice — the end user doesn’t care. We simply have to admit that Apple is nailing this and it is one of the reasons they have people lining up overnight at stores around the world, and products sold out for months. These people aren’t hypnotized zombies, they simply love beautifully designed products that are user centric and work how they are supposed to work. Android has a major weakness — it will always lack the simplicity and elegance that comes with end-to-end device software, middleware and hardware control. We really have a great opportunity to build something new and “uniquely BlackBerry” with the QNX platform.

From the open letter of a RIM executive to his bosses

Answered: What if you stop paying for iTunes Match?

If you don't renew the yearly $25 subscription, your iCloud store goes away. iTunes purchases will still be available to all devices, and anything that you have downloaded from iCloud to you devices you keep. This includes iTunes Plus versions you have chosen to replace older, lower quality rips in your main iTunes library. Apple explained that replacing those lower-quality rips is optional.

The biggest question amongst my tech obsessed friends is "What happens if you stop paying for iTunes Match". This is what I suspected (hoped really) the answer might be.
The above quote show what i think is a very interesting loophole that, uncommonly, benefits end-users AND Apple.
In short, you can pay for Match, use it for a year and then quit and have ALL of your music 'upgraded' and on your machine(s). This is truly great for the consumer and makes it easy to 'quit' the cloud if you want to without losing any part of your collection.
How this is good for Apple is that even if you quit iCloud you get all the features of it for music you purchase from Apple. So you could pay for the year, quit, and just keep buying everything from iTunes. If you want to keep buying from Amazon (or pirating) and have the benefits of iCloud, then you'll pay the $24.99. Which, I have to say, is dirt cheap considering i was very worried they would come out with a per song license cost.

Thoughts on cloud music services from Google, Amazon, and Apple

As Amazon and Google launch "cloud" based music sharing services rumors swirl on what Apple will announce soon at WWDC and who else might join the party.  
My Google/Android (and music) loving friend Aaron and I have been having heated email discussions about what is here today, in beta, and what seems imminent so I thought that I'd try and capture what I think a "cloud based" media service should to provide in order to be successful.  As with all technology, your milage may vary, but I do try and  take the user focused view, even if its not ideal for my own use.  

  1. You should be able to put ALL of your music into the service, not just the music you purchase, or have purchased from that service.  This includes music that you have ripped yourself from CD's you have purchased.  Yes RIAA will have to trust us on this.
  2. You should not have to upload your music (I have, today 25,775 songs, or 175.32 G of Music, though I realize thats above average).  People that do not know what 175 gig means also do not know why that would take two months to send somewhere through their crappy ISP.
  3. Your music should be available anywhere you need it, even without a data connection.  This means storing select music to each device as needed but especially to mobile devices.
  4. You should not have to maintain playlists, podcast positions, ratings, or anything related to your library in different ways in different places... those things should synchronize.

Most rumors suggest that Apple, unlike Google and Amazon, are working with media companies to secure special licensing for their iCloud service.  The reason for this *could* be related to #1 and #2.  I believe that those two points are huge for the widespread success of this kind of service.  I do not think people will fully use any service if they only have some part of their collection in that service.  This requires #1 and I think of all these items that is the most important.  Less important, but still important is #2.  I do not think people will fully adopt a service that requires them to go through a complicated and lengthy upload.

So if Apple is using licensing to allow #1 it will have a cost associated with it and we'll pay that cost.  Essentially what I'd guess is that Apple might say, charge a per song or per album charge to get music not purchased through iTunes into the iCloud.  Licensing could also allow #2 in that if you have it on your computer, and purchased the 'cloud license', Apple would just put it in the cloud, not expect you to upload it*.  
I'd actually pay for special licensing, despite having paid for the music already - IF the entire service was well integrated and did a good job with all the above points.  
We'll have to see what Apple announces at WWDC.  It could be right on the money, but the critical question, especially for people with large music collections like me, is how much will it cost?**  

* making users upload the files is essentially how Amazon and Google claim they do not have to get special licensing, because they are just storing YOUR files for you
** If it were say $0.10 a song then it would cost me $2,577.  No thanks.