Is streaming music from the cloud just FM radio 2.0?

I’m not feeling the whole “store my music in the cloud and stream it to my device” race that is going on right now. I listened as Leo Laporte took a few days and uploaded 4+ gigs of his music to Google’s cloud service just so, what, he could stream it back down to his mobile device? This doesn’t make much sense to me.

Paying twice?

Like most of you, I’ve already paid for my music – some in CD format, most in MP3s from iTunes or Amazon or wherever. Whatever the cost, I’ve paid for my right to listen to the music. So now I’ll pay a (nominal) yearly fee AND whatever bandwidth charges I incur at home (I’m in Canada and use the fully capped Rogers high speed internet) and on my mobile device? Not really interested in that at all.

Can you waste bandwidth?

Uploading all my music (in the case of Google’s cloud service) and then streaming on demand without storing it on my mobile device for future play seems like a waste of bandwidth. Will carriers get on board with this? How do they ensure the high level of service required to stream this type of volume. Wouldn’t we be better off just using FM radio? They seem to have an efficient streaming technology…

What would work

I have 2000 CDs and records (yup, albums, LPs, records) sitting in my basement right now. I haven’t opened the crates they are in at any time during the past 5 years but I know there is great music down there (Rick Astley and Milli Vanilli aside). I would welcome a cloud service that allowed me to scan those artifacts and open them up to me in the cloud giving me back my music collection that I’ve already spent thousands of dollars on.

Accessing my stream

Build an app that lists every single song that I own and, through a combination of on-device storage and cloud services, give me access to them all. Storage is not expensive as a dollar cost – it may be a different story around the cost of deciding what to store, hardware optimization and battery optimization (without a hard drive you could conceivably have a battery that lasts years) – so why not offer a smart combination of both. Let me store the music I want on device and when I choose a song from the app, stream it but give me an option to store it on device as well.

Smart software trumps dumb bandwidth

Make the software the focal point when it comes to streaming audio. Optimize the experience so it minimizes the amount of bandwidth waste. Learn my tastes and when I am most likely to listen to certain artists. Know when I’m at the gym, in the car or at home and understand what that means for music selection. Software is smart, bandwidth is not and this is where the real differentiation happens.

Make it ready for my parents

Whatever this looks like it has to be consumer friendly and simple. Launch, click, listen. No matter where I am, regardless of the type or speed of connection available, this shouldn’t cost me more than I’ve already spent on the actual music.

What do you think? Is music streaming just FM v 2.0?

About the author

Rob Woodbridge

I'm Rob, the founder of and I've spent 14 years immersed in the mobile and pervasive computing world. During this great time I've helped some of the most innovative companies grow their business through mobile. If you are in need of a mobile business advisor or coach, connect with me here to get things rolling.

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