Wireless iPod could kill piracy; would consumers buy into it?

“Riddle me this: What would you get if you crossed a BlackBerry with an iPod? The answer: The future of the music business,” writes Charles Haddad for BusinessWeek. Haddad describes a system called Everywhere Internet Audio (EIA) that would eliminate music piracy as we know it. Music wouldn’t be stored, in fact there would be no way it could be stored and it would “evaporate” at a set time like “mist in a jar.”

Haddad writes that, “It’s an ill-kept secret that Apple is trying to figure out how to add wireless Internet connectivity to the iPod.”

There some technical hurdles, Haddad explains, such as how to handle revenues and implementing EIA would “require the labels to offer their full music libraries online, and make them available 24-hours a day.”

“Imagine, if you will, an iPod as a wireless digital ladle. It would dip into a nearly bottomless stream of continual music, scooping up any song you wanted, when you wanted, where you wanted. There would be no need for CDs, hard drives, or any other storage device… Every song would contain a digital expiration date, so, over time, they would evaporate,” Haddad writes.

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Maybe we can’t think out of the box here, but we’re very used to the concept of owning something when we buy it. Nobody can “own” music? For “lease” only? Sometimes we like to dip back in time and listen to a track or album we haven’t listened to in years. What happens if it’s expired? We’d have to lease it again. Perhaps we’d decide not to bother. This would fundamentally change the basic music listening experience, which is why we think it might not work. For example, people have adjusted to leasing cars (although you can still buy them), but the basic experience of driving the car is unchanged. Not so with the Everywhere Internet Audio concept. What do you think?


  1. That means that they’ll cover the earth with free wireless broadband, right? Otherwise, what’s the point? They might as well simply market a portable XM radio – NOT an iPod. And I have no interest in XM radio, myself. And if I want to listen to music within 30 feet of my computer, then I’ll listen through my computer, either via my soundsticks and iSub or wireless headphones.

    But while I’m snowboarding, Mt. Biking, jogging, driving cross-country, etc.. I want my iPod with HD storage.

  2. Fascinating concept. Sounds xtremely technologically complex. I think it would be great if the music we bought didn’t expire, and without a HD, the iPod could be downright miniscule. But if by “expires”, they mean that we would have to pay for it again, then it’s a horrible idea.

  3. Nobody wants to “lease” their music! That’s why iTunes has smacked all the subscription services up-side the head! And this wireless way to listen to all different kind of music already exists. It’s called THE RADIO and it’s FREE! What a dumb idea and dumb article. Do you really think people will buy music wirelessly when they can just turn on the radio?


  4. sounds like pure radio on demand-every song request is fulfilled. do you make your own selections 1 by 1 (seems time consuming), or do you link wirelessly to tunes on your iDisk, or what? if this is a separate digital lifestyle device, maybe some folks would go for it. i strongly support ownership of music via iPod instead of subscriptions, so I would want this approach to work by me paying once for the song, then being able to access it wirelessly forever, as a supplement to my rights to download it onto iPod.

  5. As a peron how makes music, I understand the problem of Piracy, but I also understand the fantastic postive thing: Some people making music out there who are not popular can totally take off with all these satellites where you can download music. I think that the music industry should just suck it up for once, and just stay with the iTMS, which is already a very good idea that seems to work very well…

  6. I don’t think “lease” is the right term. The way I see it is you subscribe to “the service” on a monthly, yearly or lifetime basis. The history of songs you listen to is kept either on your iPod or on a central server. It would be just like keeping the physical file on your harddrive. Then you can click on the file and it fetches the tune for you. You could build a limitless list of songs and you wouldn’t necessarily have to have the physical file. The only limitation I see is the wireless connectivity and how reliable it would be. Also, you should still be able to keep anywhere up to 40 gigs of music on your iPod but it can expire also so you can constantly refresh your list.

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