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Will All Content Move To The Cloud?

Opening Structure08, the cloud computing conference in San Francisco, Jonathan Yarmis of AMR Research coined an interesting phrase: Everything As A Service.

Opening Structure08, the cloud computing conference in San Francisco, Jonathan Yarmis of AMR Research coined an interesting phrase: Everything As A Service."Everything," in Yarmis' formulation, includes content. Music, video, books, photos, and so on.

"At the end of the day, what do users really want?" Yarmis asked. "Ultimately, what we want is services that give us the capability of having data independent of the devices we're carrying."

If you pause and think about that, it's a radical notion, especially for traditional content businesses going through powerful upheavals like the music industry and the media. One example Yarmis used is RealNetworks, which has not exactly been a world-beater in recent years, vs. Apple's iTunes, which is based on an individual-owner model: you buy a song, you own it, you transfer it to your various devices (as long as they have the Apple logo on them). If we move to a pure broadcast model -- like, say, YouTube for watching videos on demand -- it raises all sorts of questions about licensing (how do creators get paid?), end usage (how do I share music with my friends?), access (how do I become able to listen, or watch, or read, regardless of where I am or what device I'm using?).

(It should be noted that Yarmis was speaking on the day after a famous, century-old newsstand in Oakland, across the Bay, shut down -- effectively bolstering his thesis. The demise of the venerable Tower Records on Sunset Boulevard, down in L.A., is another proof point. The vanishing of such gathering places for like-minded culture-consumers is one example of the possible cost of moving Everything to the cloud.)

I'm not sure it will ever happen, but then I still buy CDs, partly for the sheer joy of "owning" the music and the accompanying art and text. So what do I know?

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