Friday, June 15, 2012

Ownership is access

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Remember record collections? Shelves in your living room or bedroom filled with LPs or CDs that you would proudly show off to friends. A trophy cabinet revealing your music tastes. I've still got a pile of vinyl albums but they've been hidden away in a cupboard and although the stereo system with record deck is still there it's a long time since I used it. Music used to take up a lot of our living space and used up a lot of cash.

Today music has become invisible in our homes. Our entire music collection is on our mobiles or stored in the cloud and household stereo systems have shrunk to a couple of mini-speakers for an iPod. We don't even need to spend money on music any more since streaming services like Spotify and Pandora let us listen to almost anything on demand without having to own it.

This is the subject of an article on CNN, Young listeners opting to stream, not own music. Owning music is becoming irrelevant since it can all be accessed online. Instead of owning music we are willing to pay for access. File sharing also becomes irrelevant if everything is available on demand anyway. The music collection that was such a status symbol a mere 20 years ago has vanished, as have the record stores.

Technically this same development can happen any time in other areas. Streamed e-books for example are already being tried and I can see great potential here for books that you need for a short time but may not want to own such as school textbooks and popular fiction. Films could also go this way and the big question is how much we would be willing to pay for a Spotify-like service for films or books. You pay for access not content. It's all technically possible but especially in the case of the film industry there are some very sensitive toes that risk getting squashed and big earnings to be defended.


  1. Vi funderar lite på min gymnasieskola hur framtidens skolbibliotek ska se ut och ha för syfte. Just nu har vi väldigt mycket skönlitteratur och i princip fungerar skolbiblioteket som en filial till huvudbiblioteket. Att betala för att lätt ha tillgång till källor som passar en gymnasieskolas elever och personal och presentera detta på ett aptitligt sätt är nog ett bättre nyttjande av pengarna. Att presentera e-böcker på ett lockande sätt har jag sett en film om någonstans i Alistars domäner.

  2. Hej
    Jag tror att du menar min post på Flexspan i april om det danska biblioteket som lånar e-böcker via en stor skärm vid järnvägsstationen -
    Tror att biblioteket blir en tjänst hellre än ett rum framöver och att boksamlingens storlek blir irrelevant eftersom det mesta finns på nätet.

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