The Ubiquitous Heavenly Jukebox

The Ubiquitous Heavenly Jukebox.

Portable Music Cuts the Cord

“At CES last month, one of the biggest 'aha' moments for me came when Rio showed me an update to its current Karma, with an MMC/SD slot that'll accept a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi card.

The first use for a wireless MP3 player is fairly obvious: transferring music without physically connecting the player to your computer. This change is certainly convenient, but the disappearance of a single wire is hardly revolutionary. If wireless connections become common on MP3 players, the sky is (literally) the limit in terms of where your music can come from….

If we add Wi-Fi to this whole scenario, things get even more interesting. Rather than waiting until you got home, imagine walking or driving within 300 feet (the range of Wi-Fi) of any record store and automatically purchasing the song you heard earlier that day. For that matter, skip the record store–a Wi-Fi hot spot could deliver the song just as easily, for less.

Following this trend to its logical conclusion, imagine setting up a wish list on your MP3 player, just as you would with P2P networks such as Soulseek. You'd be able to add songs to the wish list by entering them on your home computer, identifying songs using acoustic identification à la Shazam, or scanning bar codes à la Symbol….

Imagine that you've created a wish list and are walking down the street, when suddenly you feel your MP3 player vibrate an alert. Sure enough, one of the songs you were looking for just downloaded to your player because someone walking next to you was sharing the song through their MP3 player's Wi-Fi connection. Who knows? Maybe this could lead to some sort of real-world musical Friendster network, where compatible people would be automatically introduced if their music collections share similar artists.

If the RIAA thinks it's a tough gig monitoring every file-sharing network in the world now, just wait until millions of MP3 player users can trade songs just by ambling down the street or driving down the highway. After contemplating that scenario, perhaps the RIAA would be more likely to license content to services that are willing to cut the industry a slice of the pie before it crumbles under the weight of failed consumer expectation. I'm talking about centralized hot spots, Shazam-like services, musical Friendsters, and whatever other businesses surface around the inevitable convergence of portable music players and wireless technology.” [MP3 Insider]

Eliot Van Buskirk throws out some pretty wild scenarios, but they're very appealing to someone like me. Recently, I've been listening to Shoutcast music on my Treo 600 while walking the dog, so I'm already halfway there.

My main concern is back up in the second paragraph: “If wireless connections become common on MP3 players, the sky is (literally) the limit in terms of where your music can come from.” What if you can get your music from anywhere except the library?  [The Shifted Librarian]

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