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April 18, 2003
Streaming v. Downloading

Bob Kohn and I used to get into an important argument at EMusic. Bob always seemed to feel that streaming of music (and thus other digital entertainment) will someday overtake the dowloading of the same.

I was just glancing at the most recent Wired and it was talking about Moore's Law and hard drives. Basically it was stating the the price per storage unit was decreasing faster than Moore's Law.

This I believe will be the pivotal issue in the streaming v. downloading debate. While hard drive space is getting cheaper faster than Moore's Law, bandwidth is not progressing nearly as fast as Moore's Law. It is going to be much cheaper and easier sooner to just store and trade .wav files, much less compressed data.

The other driving factor that will push toward downloading is that bandwidth is and will continue to be a shared resource, while storage is not and thus has an even larger leg up on streaming.

This is not to say that in 100 plus years this distinction doesn't get blurred by the technology to the point you can't tell the difference, but in the here and now its important in the forecasting of the pressures on the technology and entertainment businesses.

Posted by hoffmang | April 18, 2003 12:58 PM


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