Cyberclinic: Is the idea of owning your music now just as outdated as the LP?

Is the idea of actually owning music becoming as old-fashioned as LPs? There's always a persistent, low-level chatter across the internet about revolutionary new ways to consume music. Record companies are constantly jockeying for position, anxious not to back an outlet for their material that might quickly be outmanoeuvred by some other groundbreaking idea. But over the past few weeks, many have signed agreements to give tunes away for free under an advertising-supported model.

We7.com, for example, tacks on a 10-second ad to each song – annoying, but hey, you're getting it for nothing. Other services at Qtrax. com and imeem.com are, apparently, imminent. But possibly the most far-sighted announcement comes from last.fm: more than 3.5 million tracks, from both major labels and independents, are available to listen to on the site in full while banner adverts flash along – making it the biggest legal collection of music to play online for free.

There are drawbacks: you can only hear them on a device connected to the internet, and individual tracks can only be played three times by each user – beyond that you have to pay a subscription fee. On the Cyberclinic blog, some of you had stronger objections. Michael pointed out that "all tracks released by the Beggars Group of independent labels have been removed due to legal issues". Another anonymous contributor had a more philosophical problem: "It represents a disturbing advance by the major record labels to gain their footing in the online world," he said, "and the independent spirit among artists and audience loses out. Time for the real revolution to carry on elsewhere."

When I visit last.fm I'm certainly not swamped with major label product, and I'm not sure what revolution our commenter is seeking – perhaps one where all the big media companies suddenly collapse, and independent musicians start somehow coining it in big time – but, in the face of widespread file-sharing, there seems to be a sense behind the idea of non-ownership. Whether I'm playing a track from a hard disk in the corner of my room or a hard disk connected to the internet several thousand miles away doesn't really matter – as long as I can get at it when I want it. Easy access is the key.

That's why iTunes has been such a success, and illegal downloads are so rampant: they both allow you quickly to hear what you want. OK, a huge number of us still get our music on good old CD. But as mobile phones, MP3 players and living-room hi-fis become connected more quickly and reliably to the internet, ownership of songs is inevitably going to become more and more irrelevant.

Diagnosis required

It is possible to be addicted to technology? And what have been the greatest web design disasters of the past 10 years? Email cyberclinic@independent.co.uk, or join the discussions on the daily technology blog, independent.co.uk/cyberclinic.

News
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food and drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
Voices
A Siberian Tiger
voices
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Agile Tester

    £28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

    Senior SAP MM Consultant, £50,000 - £60,000, Birmingham

    £50000 - £60000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Senior SAP MM C...

    SAP BW BO

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP BW BO - 6 MONTHS - LONDON London (Gr...

    Recruitment Resourcer

    £18000 - £22000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Recruitment Resour...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried