During the halcyon days of the dot com boom, a number of companies strove to provide music locker services whereby a consumer could access their personal music collection anytime, anywhere. MyPlay, MP3.com and Musicbank come to mind, though I’m sure there were others. MyPlay almost sold to Yahoo for $200 M, and ended up selling to Bertlesmann for $30 M. MP3.com rolled out My.MP3.com with it’s Beam-It feature, where you would register your CDs with them (via some sort of CD ID), and from then on be authorized to listen to that album but using MP3.com’s copy. This was a copyright no-no and MP3.com’s shareholders ended up forking over hundreds of millions to settle. Musicbank was another one and went about getting licenses from the labels, but alas it was too early.
Fast forward 5 years and there is a new crop of companies with various flavors of what amounts to a music locker service. MP3Tunes, founded by Michael Robertson of MP3.com fame, Tagworld (via Om), XDrive, Grouper, the list goes on. Even Apple has been rumored to be working on something like this. To me, this is Google’s and especially Yahoo’s game to lose. Yahoo already has tens of millions of users entrusting them with their personal information, i.e. emails, address books, calendars, and their economics on both storage and streaming are probably low enough for them to make this work from a business perspective. They should roll out a service like this and tier it so one version is free/ad-supported and an ad-free paid version. I’d subscribe.