Running A Music Service On Your Website

So, you decide as a company you want your website to have a little something more. You want to bring users to your site who have a common interest in a certain thing. It comes to your mind; music. Everybody, in some way, has a connection with music. People listen to it all the time, and sometimes they will even be the creators of music. That goes for your users (after all, they’re people, right?), too, obviously. They will all share that common interest.

You get started on a flash-based audio player. You plan to allow users up to 6 songs on their profile. But, if you’re hosting them on your server (e.g. giving the users the ability to upload the audio files on your server), you’re going to run out of space/bandwidth. So we’re going to need to compress these files as much as we can. Check!

Once that is done, you get the idea to allow the users to be able to choose from a selection of songs, and maybe even EPs. That’s a great idea, but you’re going to need permission to distribute, and you’re going to have to make sure the audio cannot be re-distributed.

So now you’re staring at your new, grand feature. The Music Store. It allows people to upload audio files or choose from a bunch of songs already uploaded (legally). This is great, and you want to release the feature as soon as you can.

You release the product 2 weeks after, when you’ve got all the legal stuff under control. You’re so proud, because your new feature has brought in bunches of new users. They’re all very interested in this feature, and put their 6 songs on their profiles right away.

This is all well and good, but your users start to find a fault in the system. They can’t download the music they like from other’s profiles. They can’t even download the music that was pre-loaded on the website. This is, of course, a move that was made on purpose, to prevent the re-distribution of the music you paid expenses for to be able to distribute. This begins an era of users being lost because of this. It’s an extremely hard time, and you know you’ll never be allowed to re-distribute the music.


It all ends there. You gain users because they like your idea, but once they find out you cannot re-distribute the music to the users, they flee. It’s something websites like MySpace and Last.FM have to deal with. The only way to regain the users is to go out and spend money on the rights to distribute music videos or short films, but you’ll realize how hard that is to manage.

While having a music service on websites looks absolutely fantastic to us, the whole back-end of it really is a tough, never-ending battle between the user and the company. My guess is that we won’t see any real success with this, and it will stop in the near future. I’m really anxious to see Facebook’s implementation, coming at a later date.

But for now, it’s waiting time…


2 Responses to “Running A Music Service On Your Website”

  1. May 11, 2007 at 8:57 pm

    Hmm, yeh, seems to be alot of work involved in running a music service on your website. I never even had thought of half the stuff you posted. Thanks for the information!! Very useful.

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May 2007
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