The Pittsburgh library will now “check out” music over the Internet for free by streaming it. It handles the copyright issues by only allowing as many simultaneous streams of a song as they own copies. If a song on your playlist is checked out, it will just skip on to the next one until it finds an open song. Think for a minute about the implications of this.
What if places and people outside of libraries did it? Everyone could get the fullest use of music. Since it’s impossible to listen to all your music at once on your own, get a lot of other people to help you with it! You could store all your music on a server that keeps a record of how many copies of each song you own, and anyone could go in, set up a playlist and start listening. Take the idea even further. What if someone set up a legal, peer-to-peer network to stream music? You could create enough upstream bandwidth by streaming from multiple locations, and each network could keep a per-node (to avoid centralization) song database.
It’s unclear to me what effect this would have on record sales. Oddly, I have a feeling that sales of one-hit wonder albums would stay about the same, while sales of CDs with more good tracks would actually drop.
Thanks to Rick for the info.