After dropping two bucks on the customized Jessica Simpson download last week, I got to thinking about the music industry sea change that is digital music. On one hand, it's obviously the future of music, but on the other it seems so late in coming. And when it peaks with personalized pop songs—it has a long way to go. So in order to predict what's coming next, here are my not-so-educated guesses for the next wave of important (and not so important) digital breakthroughs in music.
Beware the power of Shawn Fanning. The onetime teenage Napster founder, Fanning is the man behind SnoCap, one of many very forward thinking digital media companies. What sets SnoCap ahead of the pack is their soon-to-be-unleashed Linx program, which is a small and easily post-able media player that streams and (most importantly) sells MP3s anywhere it's posted. It's a perfect fit for the bazillions of bands clinging to the good ship MySpace, as it offers instant commerce for the bands without having to redirect possible fans to a third-party download site. SnoCap collects an annual membership and a cut of the $.79 download, but look for this idea to be huge in the coming years, as unsigned bands take control of their digital distribution.
Zune - http://www.microsoft.com
The best thing about Zune is that it's actually nothing more than a logo right now. The digital equivalent to a Cogswell Cog, no one knows much about what Zune is or will be—all they know is that it's Microsoft's attempt to compete with Apple's iTunes and iPods. The real rumor is that when Gates and co. finally roll out the media players and digital distribution network under the Zune umbrella, they'll be the first to feature the digital catalog of the Beatles, one of the few (and easily the largest) digital holdouts.
Celebrity Skin - http://www.blackpitchpress.com/celebrityskin/film.htm
Sure, a pop song from Jessica Simpson with your name in it is pretty personal, but how about the Isaac Brock feces? Um, what? "Formed in 2003 by an anonymous collective of former Hollywood personal assistants," Celebrity Skin claims to sell the unsellable—or at least items that should never sell—and I have no idea how you are going to prove that the Ludicris urine ($15) you bought is the real deal. One wonders why Jay-Z's feces ($33) sells for more than Michael Stipe's ($27), but the real bargain is the "bacteria" of Sammy Hagar ($5.75). So think about that next time you're grabbing some bento; imagine if you could order some bacteria from the Red Rocker instead. Is all this fake? Of course. But ain't the internet grand?