MySpace Music’s acquisition of imeem revealed, for the umpteenth time, a major problem with the music business — not piracy, nor the ongoing failure of pure-play ad-supported music services, but rather that each digital music service grows in its own data silo. This impacts us in all sorts of negative ways.
The solution to this and other problems dogging the music industry could be forehead-slappingly simple: one big, free, public database with, at the very least, song titles in one column and unique identifiers in another. When online and mobile music services build their own content databases out of the labels’ catalogs, they would have incentives to use the same numbers to identify each song, for the reasons laid out below. Music services already apply their own unique identifiers to songs in their catalogs, so the use of numbers is not the issue — they just need to be the same numbers. [Read More]