The future of digital distribution was not about DRM protected AAC-files in your locked down iTunes or Windows media library. We already knew that. However, it’s important to realise that the future of digital music is not going to be about Mp3:s either. Not Flac. Nor is it going to be about some superior and/or open format after that. Not at all.
No. The future of digital is a link.
It’s a simple, permanent link to a song that you can grab a hold of, listen to, pass around, comment on, blog, tweet or Jaiku about, listen to in your yet-to-be-invented music player (or hey, maybe it’s Songbird?), bookmark in your social playlist tool, create a context around, remix, mashup, mix live on a wireless device that doesn’t yet exist (or is it an iPhone 3G?), embed on your insert-social-network-here profile, shout to somebody at a party, license in two clicks, play back from your home stereo or car stereo or ..heck, iPod. But it will take a few years.
Tim Berners-Lee was more right than he could ever have hoped to be. Links rule, they stay cool, and they will change the game in how music is discovered and listened to over the coming years…
(And yes, I broke my promise–but the next post will be about SoundCloud!)