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.

  7. “No one is ever going to ‘lease music'” – except maybe all the poor saps who tried using “buymusic.com” and are still learning how limited their options are now that they’ve done exactly that…

    Otherwise, this is a completely unimplementable idea, as there are still too many other alternatives out there, which folks have already mentioned (radio, XM, etc.). Even it could come to be, I’m sure someone out there would then want a service like this to be interrupted between every song with some sort of [gasp] advertising. Or you could then pay even MORE and get “commercial-free” music.

    I don’t see any way this is going to happen as long as we can actually purchase CDs and other forms of recorded music at brick & mortar locations or online (wonder how Tower Records or BMG or Columbia Music would react to all this?).

  8. In theory, if the Earth were covered with a global wireless broadband, this and many more amazing concepts could be developed. In short, your home computer could be your own central core, and you could use tiny portable peripherals connected to your computer 24/7 wherever you go. In essence, you PDA would have the full power of your computer. This would make hi-res video communications possible (no long distance companies. Hell, no phone companies!) Your home computer does all of the grunt work, and streams the info to and from your PDA; any video, audio, etc. This would eliminate the local TV cable companies as TV channels would be streamed via your computer. You can access ANYTHING from anywhere on demand as your computer seeks the info.data and streams it to you.

    No longer any need for a high-powered laptop, just one that has a full size keyboard and display and no real “guts”. It’d be more like a dumb terminal using a wireless broadband connection. It could be VERY thin, light, and cheap. If they work harder on speech recognition, you can eliminate your keyboard. Now, you’d have a PDA that was more like a Star Trek communicator linked to your own ship’s main computer.

    Smaller, poorer, countries could have a single computer center and issue these cheap devices to everyone. Then every person, no matter their location has the power of a mainframe, even in the remotest areas.

    The technology already exists, but it will require a company with the ability and vision to innovate far outside the box and also has an existing powerful and very secure operating system to address the security required for wireless networking. Hmmm… who would that be?

  9. What to me would make sense, and would be something in which I”d invest, is if it were subscription based. Pay $10 a month and have unlimited access to all the music on the internet that the music companies offer. You can use your iPod at any time to access any music. I’d definitely do that, as for $10 a month you can access any song from most popular bands. But why do I get the feeling that somehow the music companies will call that a lose money deal no matter what?

  10. This idea is absurd. I live in the middle of nowhere – there’s nothing but dialup around here, T1 or ISDN service isn’t even available. Nothing like this would fly in 90% of the country (or the world for that matter). Maybe in the 5 ‘major markets’, but not everywhere else that people live, work, and play.

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