Who wants to own files anymore? The streaming revolution takes over!

Physical media and even owning content is history – Streaming takes over now!
Yes, indeed I was shocked recognizing myself at what low importance owning digital content got into. Who needs to own a file on a hard disk when you want to access it through multiple devices and from anywhere? The only virtual disk you want it on is the cloud that manages your files, or dependent on the type of media even only handles one master file for all people who purchased access to it.

This time it even seems Google did not get it and lost track. They just launched their Google Music service empowering everyone (but not yet the Germans) to upload up to 20.000 titles of music free of charge and then making it accessible from “any” device. But who has that many unique titles these days? I guess nobody. So Apple Match, from a technical point of view, already went one step further by just matching the titles you own and in return giving you access to the original high quality files in their cloud. Despite the fact that this costs a few dollars per year it really shows how media can be consumed in the 21st century: Show me that you have the right to access the information and I will let you have it wherever you are! This will apply to all kind of information like books, music, video, magazines, games and so on.

On a side note I have to say how genius this move has been by Apple as it again has proven how they successfully transform markets. Instead of hunting the illegal sharing guys further, now through Apple the music industry offers them a way to come back to the good side by matching their titles and in return, for a small yearly fee, giving them access to the original music.

But now back to changes we see because of the streaming take over. We have seen Spotify as one of the pioneers for streaming music on the internet. They are incredible successful and now even have a partnership with Facebook in place, giving them access to even more valuable information about the listening habits. On the video side Netflix, now amounting for a third of all US internet traffic, really showed how a company can transform from an old business model of renting out DVDs to a 21st century company giving access to media and streaming it to about every device from your TV down to the phone.

So what could this movement mean for commerce in general? If we consider that everyone who once got access to information or media should be able to access it again if his right to do so did not expire, then we are only talking about touch points where consumers purchase the right to do so. These touch points could be accessible through any channel and device, but more importantly should also be included in physical products you buy. So for example each book you buy should also be available in digital formats on your devices and any DVD you purchase should also be streamed to you once you are not at home and have it available. This is because you bought the right to access the content by purchasing the physical medium in first place.

About Alexander
Founder & Entrepreneur in eCommerce. Now @CouchCommerce & @ecomPunk

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