Many of you may have heard of a company called Lala, recently acquired by Apple, an online music application which allows users to easily play, buy and share music on the web. The online application not only allows you to play any of their, over 8 million, songs for free the first time but it also allows you to upload your own music collection and play it where ever you are internet connected. In addition, each user has the ability to easily share their own music collections online by embedding playlists on their websites, blogs, etc. For example, here is an album I have uploaded.
As for the educational implications... In our College, we have any number of online music courses ranging from an Introduction to Jazz to Elvis. As we move forward in the creation of online music courses, should we not be tapping into these types of applications so we can integrate music seamlessly into courses as well as empower students to listen to the music the way they wish. While faculty would have the ability to, legally, share their, educationally focused, playlists to their class in a way that would empower their students to listen to the music the way they wish. For example, if they wish to listen to a song once, for free, they have that option so long as they have never listened to the song before on Lala. If they wish to purchase a song and listen to it online as many times as they want, they can do so as at price of 10 cents a song. Furthermore, if they want to purchase the song as an mp3 for download to their mobile device, they can do that as well. Below is an Elvis album I have shared as an example of what one that may be viewed in an online music course.
So what is the future of sharing and distributing online digital media? Will Apple extend the business model used by Lala by doing the same with video? The technology is obviously there. I can say from an educational standpoint, it could potentially eliminate the copyright headaches we face.