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February 20, 2007

Cloud Playlists Are the Future

After thinking more about my previous Seeqpod post, I realized that I hadn't fully explained the important implications of cloud playlists (web-based playlists that reference mp3s in the cloud), so hopefully this follow-up post explains why these cloud playlists will be so important.

The music discovery part of Seeqpod is cool (although I think the interface and music player options are better and more robust in The Hype Machine) because it's showing the discovered music in real time.

I’m not sure if it's storing this discovered music for later indexing and searching but showing you a stream of music consciousness from the cloud is neat. How practical is for actual music discovery? Not convinced of the usefulness there yet; I enjoy The Hype Machine because I see the popular searches or stumble upon a person’s other music posts when looking for a particular song. I’m not sure if this ad-hoc discovery will work via this stream of consciousness feed but it will probably occur in a different format.

To me, what Seeqpod has improved upon and taken the next step forward from The Hype Machine is the ability to create and save playlists. Again not revolutionary perhaps but I've often wanted to have these features with The Hype Machine.

The playlist ability really moves the entire mp3 blog aggregator phenomenon to the next level. Not only can we create and share playlists (and hopefully embed a player into our blogs or MySpace pages, like embedding YouTube videos), but know we can really begin thinking about moving all of our music to the cloud. And not just our music, but all of the music posted by individuals on their blogs now becomes part of our cloud playlists.

We can move away from owning the music and move towards either subscribing to the music in the cloud (e.g. Rhapsody) or playing the music via our cloud playlists, which allow us to mashup our music lsitening habits and then save and share these music collections with others.

ITunes plays my music and the playlists point to the mp3s saved on my hard drive. What if I have smart tools, like a super Hype Machine or a cloud-based Napster, which is robust enough to list all of “my music” and points to the mp3s in the cloud while the playlists also reference mp3s in the cloud? It starts to look less like I need to buy or download music anymore when I can simply sort and play songs or playlists based on the music indexed in the cloud.

This is all a little premature given our current technology and yes, music blogs are constantly taking down and re-posting mp3s so the indexing and re-indexing of the music links would be a pain but not impossible. But you can see where this step, cloud playlists, fits into the internet music phenomenon.


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