Does the in­dus­try have its head in the clouds again?

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music -

Enda Kenny knows the score. Dur­ing the gen­eral elec­tion cam­paign ear­lier this year, a po­lit­i­cal cor­re­spon­dent at­tempted to punk the Fine Gael leader by ask­ing him to ex­plain cloud com­put­ing, a topic that had come up at an ear­lier press brief­ing.

In­stead of stut­ter­ing and stum­bling for an an­swer, Kenny trot­ted out a de­cent ex­pla­na­tion and the po­lit­i­cal cor­re­spon­dents had to look else­where for sport that day.

You would hope that the mu­sic in­dus­try has a sim­i­lar grasp of what the cloud is all about for their in­dus­try.

Given the sorry litany of set­backs, mis­takes and er­rors that have ac­com­pa­nied mu­sic’s in­ter­ac­tion with tech­nol­ogy over the past 15 years, you re­ally do have to hope they know what they are do­ing.

Af­ter all, the cloud is where it’s at for the in­dus­try in the short to medium term. CD sales are on the slide (though three out of four US al­bum sales last year were still on plas­tic discs) and paid-for down­loads are not re­ally go­ing to fund any­one’s end-of-year bonus. In­stead, it’s all about streams, sub­scrip­tions and other cloud-re­lated ac­tiv­ity.

Yet, as we saw re­cently when a crash at the Ama­zon Web Ser­vices data cen­tre in north Vir­ginia caused out­ages for var­i­ous sites it hosts, the cloud is a great idea in the­ory – and in prac­tice, as long as ev­ery­thing works. But prob­lems can and do oc­cur, which is why many see the Ama­zon snafu as a wake-up call for those mov­ing their ac­tiv­i­ties to the cloud.

For the mu­sic in­dus­try, there is also the need for some long-term think­ing about what comes af­ter the cloud. But, as we have seen again and again, for­mu­lat­ing long-term strate­gies is not some­thing the sec­tor has been too good at over the years.

Cloud com­put­ing: Enda Kenny’s

on top of it

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