When it comes to entertainment, the world has long since been raving about cloud technology; you can watch TV whenever you want through BBC iPlayer, download games on your Xbox 360 or listen to a more or less infinite amount of songs on Spotify.
Cloud Jukeboxes have so far proved to be the most successful use of cloud technology as well as being the most beneficial to consumers. More established brands like Spotify and Deezer (if you live in France it’s all you use) have been joined over the years by the likes of Soundcloud, Lastfm, Grooveshark and Rhapsody.
Since the start of 2011, we’ve also been treated to news that Google, Amazon and Apple will also be joining the party be releasing the Music Locker, Cloud Player and iCloud respectively.
But for the time being, Spotify remains the daddy of cloud music, according to figures leaked in August, the Anglo-Swedish streaming service now has more than 1.5 million paying subscribers – 32.9% of its 4.67 million active users. To put that into perspective they gained one paying customer for every three listeners that abandoned its free service after it introduced stricter terms in April. Furthermore, since then, they have also launched in the US and linked up with Facebook.
However there appears to be a new kid on the block that might just suit everyone.
Boinc, from New York digital music start-up Beyond Oblivion, is preparing for launch of its unlimited service later this year. Part backed by News Corp, Boinc’s strategy is to bundle the price of access to its cloud-based library of millions of tracks into the cost of a smartphone or PC, thus giving consumers a compelling alternative to illegal downloads, which still make up the vast majority of digital music consumption.
According to reports and Boinc’s official video, Boinc will pay 70% of its annual revenues to artists as well as royalties for each play which is set to give them (and therefore us) access to a vast library of music.
Whilst Boinc has already secured royalty deals with Sony and Warner and are reportedly in advanced stages with Universal and EMI, Google and Amazon appear to be struggling to get the same endorsements, with Google having only secured a licence with EMI (if you only want Coldplay and Katy Perry then you’re fine). Meanwhile in an open letter to major record companies, Amazon have made the executive decision that they “are not looking for licenses for Cloud Drive or Cloud Player as they exist today – as no licensees are required”.
This will go a long way to calm the nerves of record label bosses who have had to contend with getting short changed from the likes of Spotify who, according to the BASCA, alleged that though Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” was streamed a million times over a five-month period last year, the artist earned only $167 in revenue from the track.
Released in late August, UK and US customers have being encouraged to register for an invitation only “private beta” testing phase with a full launch expected in late 2011. The full version will also come complete with “Gurus” who will recommend new music to you, no adverts and the verb ‘Boinc-ing’.
Bring on 2012!
By Henry Riggall, Business Development Manager