From atoms to bits … music, video, then?

My friend Todd, who works for Apple, sent me this link tonight while we were IMing about the iPhone.  The post is titled “Apple Now Third Biggest U.S. Music Retailer“, and it is really stunning to think about.  A company that has no stores full of music CDs, nothing but a bunch of servers in a data center, has now become the third largest retailer of music.

This, to me, is absolutely amazing.  They have none of the overhead of stores, shelves, cashiers, or any of the other fixed assets required by Walmart or Best Buy.  Instead, they have a bunch of servers, lots of storage, some system admins, and a bunch of programmers.  In a matter of a few years, they have provided a way to buy your music on-line at a reasonable cost from wherever you have an Internet connection.
I have to admit that I am slowly transitioning to buying on iTunes.  I have always been buying the actual CDs, and then lately using iTunes to rip them and load them into my iPod.  A month or so ago I spent some time with my father using iTunes to track down a long list of “oldies” that he wanted to listen to in his car.  We found all of them but two on iTunes, downloaded and burned the CD for him … all without leaving the house.

We are quickly evolving from an economy of bits, to one of atoms.  Where it makes sense, more and more information will make this migration.  I believe that the next big statistic will be when videos begin their migration to the net.  Who will be the big provider of downloadable video … legally … for rent or to buy?  With bandwidth ever increasing it’s #inevitable that we’ll be pulling more and more rich media down … so who is going to be the big on-line retailer that dominates in that space?

I also begin to think … what is next?  Once music and video are primarily bought and downloaded over the Internet … what is next?  What will be the next big migration?

Leave a Reply