Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

What happens when it gets cloudy?

Enda Kenny knows the score. During the general election campaign earlier this year, a political correspondant attempted to punk the Fine Gael leader by asking him to explain cloud computing, a topic which had come up at an earlier press …

Fri, Apr 29, 2011, 10:00

   

Enda Kenny knows the score. During the general election campaign earlier this year, a political correspondant attempted to punk the Fine Gael leader by asking him to explain cloud computing, a topic which had come up at an earlier press briefing.

Instead of stuttering and stumbling for an answer, Kenny trotted out a decent explanation and the pol corrs had to look elsewhere for sport that day.

You hope that the music industry has a similar grasp to the Taoiseach on what the cloud is all about for their industry. Given the sorry litany of setbacks, mistakes and errors which have accompanied music’s interaction with technology over the last 15 years, you really do have to hope they know what they’re doing.

After all, the cloud is where it’s at for the industry in the short to medium term. CD sales are on the slide (though three in four US album sales in 2010 were still on plastic discs) and paid-for downloads are not really going to fund anyone’s end of year bonus. Instead, it’s all about streams, subscriptions and other cloud-related activity.

Yet, as we saw recently when a crash at the Amazon Web Services’ data centre in north Virginia caused outages for various hosted sites, the cloud is a great idea in theory and, as long as everything works, in practice.

But problems can and do occur, which is why many see the Amazon snafu as a wake-up call for those moving their activities to the cloud.

For the music industry, there is also the need for some long-term thinking about what comes after the cloud. But, as we have seen again and again, formulating long-term strategies is sadly not something which the sector has been too good at doing over the years.