I've been somewhat deliberately avoiding writing about online music of late because it's all still depressing me. Still, I wanted to note in passing two stories that aren't yet formally connected but soon may be.
First, there's a breezy guide from Dan Kantor on Gigaom on how to buy music now. As I noted some time ago, the ability to stream music to wherever you are from 'cloud' music services is taking over from the purchase of downloadable tracks, just as those downloads took over from the purchase of plastic platters.
Kantor's guide focuses on issues such as format, chiding Apple for still selling AAC, and on what mobile device you use, with distinctions for nerds and non-nerds. Still, the core message is: buy something to stream, not to drop on your hard disk.
Not that you're necessarily going to get everything you want from these services, though, particularly if you want things that aren't released on major labels. In fact, if you use Spotify, you just lost access to over 200 indie and minor record labels' catalogs. The problem, as Matt Lynley lays out in that column, is that the cloud services are paying... um, in my tribe we call it "bupkis".
In addition, the streaming services like Spotify are seen as cutting into the outright purchases you are being advised to make on the other cloud services. Spotify, in its response statement, claims (sole) responsibility for getting people to stop illegal downloading. Epic achievement there, guys. Can you convince the Cartel to stop suing people for downloading now that, you know, you've stopped all illegal downloading?
In fact, according to another Gigaom piece, part of the problem is that the Cartel owns a chunk of Spotify and is thus absorbing some of the revenue that might otherwise flow to these indie labels from Spotify.