Declining iTunes Sales Points to Increased Acceptance of The Cloud

When we speak of The Cloud we’re generally referring to Internet-based data storage and hosting of applications. This contrasts with the traditional computing model where applications and data live on a hard drive on 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 small computing arsenal that includes a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, or some combination of these. In this scenario the problem becomes, how do you work and communicate consistently 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 in a consistent manner no matter what device you use. And that, in a nutshell, is cloud computing.

But working from the cloud presents its own 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 their terms, procedures, etc.? Concerns like these have caused cloud computing to grow at a slower rate than we might expect in a connected world. That’s where the latest developments at iTunes comes in.

For the last few years sales of digital music on iTunes have been in decline. Steve Jobs once famously said in defense of Apple’s business model, “we don’t rent music.” But the market is showing that people today are more happy renting than owning. Where are people renting their music? From cloud-based streaming services like Pandora. For a reasonable monthly fee you can listen to all the music you want. 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 does. 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. Services like Box and Dropbox offer large-capacity data storage plans. And there are several services like Crash Plan that offer cloud-based backup. It looks like a good time to begin thinking about how your business can leverage the cloud to better service your customers from any device.

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