Why Music On The Cloud Does Not Make Sense

In a previous post, I talked about why streaming music would never be the same as owning a physical copy of it. Since then, Amazon has launched it’s Cloud Player which takes perfectly good physical copies that you can listen to directly and let’s you stream it over the cloud. While I understand people streaming music that they don’t own, I am bewildered that Amazon (and other companies) thinks that there are customers who are willing to pay them to stream music that they already own. Look at this comparison of the various types of music services and tell me why anybody would pay for Cloud Music (or at least the way Amazon has implemented it).

ParameterCloud ServiceStreaming ServiceOwned Physical Copy
QualityPoor bitrate. Mediocre at best.Varies from low quality (free) to high quality (premium). Another problem with free services - audio ads that spoil the listening experience.Can’t get better than this
CostOne time cost for songs + Recurring extra cost for storage + Recurring bandwidth costsRecurring bandwidth costs + Recurring streaming cost for premium plansOne time cost for songs. No recurring costs. Even is you add the cost of a hard-drive (to mimic the backup functionality of cloud), it’s a one-time low cost (and getting lower every day).
AvailabilityNot available when internet is not available (like on flights), or when there is a service disruption/outage at your ISP or the cloud service provider.Not available when internet is not available (like on flights), or when there is a service disruption/outage at your ISP or the streaming service provider.With a large capacity portable media player (ahem, like an iPod), you can carry your entire music collection with you all the time. No service comes close to this level of availability.
Music CatalogLimited – as many songs as you purchase. But your catalog is yours forever.Unlimited as long as you subscribe. Zip, zilch, nada if you don’t subscribe.Limited – as many songs as you purchase. But your catalog is yours forever.

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