Selling Music using ‘Steam’?

August 23, 2006

I just bought Half-Life 2. No big deal, right? What really a big deal for me, is that because I bought the Japanese version of Half-Life 2 and still be able to play the english version of it. Let me describe the history a bit. I’ve tried. I’ve looked everywhere for the english version with no luck. After sometime and couldn’t find even a single copy of it in the shops nor the internet I gave up. Just about then I ran a search in the internet looking for a possibility for converting a Japanese version to English version. I wasn’t really hoping much on that search, but to my surprise a post describing how to turn English version to Japanese version appears.

Now, what these got to do with music? Hang on, it appears that Valve, the publisher of Half-Life 2 uses a special software distribution technique called ‘Steam’. You can download it from their homepage or have it bundled if you bought the retail version of Half-Life 2. What great about this software is that it controlled the updating and license verification of the games that is installed in your computer. And also,.. we can change language settings for a game and Steam will automatically downloads all the necessary files from the Internet.

This is all a good thing, but another thing that is very good in my opinion is the fact that once we bought the game we are registered for life owning that game. This information is saved in Valve server and even if we don’t have the physical copy of the game itself, we can always download directly from the server and installed it in any computer. Of course, sharing accounts and steam cache is illegal. However, think about the possibility. Here we are presented with non-physical ownership of something. And that something is in the form of data. By providing an unlimited access to the data, valve have just provided their customers possesion of a life-time without having fears of losing or damaging their property. It’s a very good strategy for valve and for the customer likewise. With bandwidths growing cheaper and cheaper with each passing day, the amount of traffic from valve servers won’t be much of a burden for them. In the contrary, via Steam they can provide automatic updates, give offers and provide an easy, controllable, common platform for their games and at the same time giving services to their customers.

Now, to relate this to music, in the past several years we have been hearing RIAA screaming about piracy and their distributions via p2p. I do realize piracy is damaging for the record companies and for the musicians also. However, buying CDs and damaging them or losing them without the ability to recover or make a backup out of those music are also frustrating for the consumers. With all these problems, I want to propose the solution that offered by Steam. That is provide the consumer an unlimited access to the music that they bought. Let them download the mp3s legally and provide them a feeling of security that they will never lose their property. And at the same time provide an easier accesses to buy musics, provide low-bitrate samples, online shopping by just one-click like iTuneShop. I’m sure it will turn out to be a better solution and likewise the distribution cost can be lowered for there are no need for retails.


One Response to “Selling Music using ‘Steam’?”

  1. carlo-51 Says:

    It’s great to know that there are sites on the web that can really help you out when you have a problem. There are a lot of games that are in either the Japanese or English versions that gamers have a hard time understanding the storyline or the dialogues. It’s better if there are converters like the steam software to help in making things turn out right.

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