In recent news YouTube have reported they are removing copyrighted music from their service, Last.fm are starting to charge for their on-line radio station and FileFront just reported they have decided to close their servers. Is it the beginning of the end of the legally free on-line services we see? Granted illegal(?) services like thepiratebay.com and similar networks still flourish despite being subject of a legal action in Sweden. With the recession of the world economy these services have a hard time to find investors that have money left to spend. Many times I’ve though to myself how these business can ever make money being almost totally free. Is the user demographics and associated commercial a high enough source of income to fund the large systems needed to host these popular services?
Someone once said that while we are all on the Internet today they prediceted that in the future we will be part of different sub-networks with login and identifications. The main infrastructure of the Internet will simply be left as an “illegal wasteland” of the digital era in which you only move about with caution. This makes me think what if we are at the turning point right now? With the free services on decline this might be the time that more traditional business models starts to act on the Internet. Services like Spotify is an example of what I mean. A service that uses the Internet as infrastructure but is charges for access where you are no longer an anonymous user.
Last year I posted about Jeff Bezoz talking about the future of the Internet on TED. This talk is several years old and highlights the enormous potential for invention on a new medium like the Internet. Today we have alot of new technology based on the Internet as a service, his pioneering talk turned out to be sign of things to come. Today we have much higher ground to build business on the Internet from and with the well funded free services going down there should be much potential new business oppertunities.
Twenty years ago the Internet was mostly for Universities. Ten years ago the dotcom-boom came and passed. Today we stand on top of all the technology and business knowledge of the Internet and there simply have to be alot of oppertunities.