Why Cloud Music Now

Shani Hilton is such a fan of Amazon’s new cloud-based music storage system that she’s gone into a reverie about Jimmy Eat World.

What people should be asking themselves, though, is why did it take so long for this to happen. After all, the technology available to stream music over the web has existed forever. So why is it just now that someone is launching a business where you store your music remotely and then access it over the internet? The answer is that we had such a business over ten years ago, but in UMG v MP3.com a judge ruled that a service that let you rip music from a CD you owned and then upload it to a remote server for cloud storage amounted to copyright infringement. UMG was awarded over $53 million in damages and the whole thing died.

But of course killing MP3.com didn’t save the business of selling physical CDs. All it did was delay the advent of useful music storage services by more than a decade.