Declining iTunes Sales Points to Increased Acceptance of The Cloud

When we speak of The Cloud, we generally refer to Internet-based data storage and hosting of applications. This contrasts with traditional computing, where applications and data live on a hard drive inside our local machines. The traditional model has worked fine until, that is, the rise of mobile devices. Most of us no longer work or communicate on just a desktop computer. Almost everyone now has a computing combination that includes a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. In this scenario, the problem becomes, how do you work smoothly from device to device? The answer is to have your data and applications stored centrally online. As long as you have an Internet connection, you can work consistently no matter what device you use. And that, for most people, is cloud computing.

But working from the cloud also presents some problems. When data lives in the cloud, how secure is it? How reliable are the connections — both on your end and at the host? Can you always get the Internet when you need it? What about backup? What about cost? And what if your cloud service goes out of business, or changes its terms, procedures, etc.? Concerns like these have caused cloud computing to grow slower than we might expect in a connected world. That’s where the latest developments at iTunes come in.

For the last few years, sales of digital music on iTunes have declined. In defense of Apple’s business model, Steve Jobs once famously said, “we don’t rent music.” But the market is showing that people today are happier renting than owning. Where are people renting their music? From cloud-based streaming services like Pandora, where you can listen to all the music you want for a reasonable monthly fee. Why own a bit of music when all of it is available so cheaply?

Granted that renting music doesn’t present nearly the same risks as trusting your data to a third party. But as more people move to cloud-based services, trust in the cloud will increase. And this means changes and new opportunities will arise for businesses. Software is rapidly moving to subscription models, and services like Box and Dropbox offer large-capacity data storage plans. There are also several services like Crash Plan that offer cloud-based backup. Perhaps it’s time to begin thinking about how your business can leverage the cloud to better serve your customers from any device.

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