No, this post isn’t an attempt to gain hits from those looking for free MP3 downloads. If we are to believe the news, free, legal music may soon be available to the world. I can see Steve Jobs quaking in his golden clogs.
Universal is proposing allowing all of it’s songs to be freely downloadable, as long as consumers watch ads as they are being downloaded. They believe they can make enough money from these ads to be profitable.
I’m personally trying hard to fight back the euphoria. This is only a trial, so may be scrapped. If I was going to be cynical, I might say that they’re going to run the trial, declare it a failure and use it as evidence that there are no other options other than forcing people to pay for downloads.
But I sincerely hope that this is the first step in bringing some logic to web media distribution. I’ll gladly view ads to watch videos or listen to music, but I demand a ‘what I want, when I want it’ service that conventional tv or radio cannot provide.
My dream is that within five years, I’ll be able to throw away my sky dish, from the internet click a program that I want to watch from a directory of available programs, and watch it, complete with ads, at my selection, and importantly, legally.
I guess only time will tell whether this is a view of a real future, or just a dream.