If you like, just skip ahead and read my latest MTT essay here.
Early in January, I did a rather extensive review of Thumbplay Music. In it, I suggested features that were missing from the cloud-based music service. Soon thereafter, I was in a book store and I started flipping through The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely. One chapter called The IKEA Effect caught my eye and I started reading it. In short, the chapter is about how effort impacts the way we value things. The harder we work to get something, the higher we tend to value it. This plays out in all aspects of our lives from chasing partners to cooking food.
After buying the book on my Kindle and sitting down with it, I realized that many of the things Ariely talks about also apply to cloud-based music. Now, if you read my piece on Thumbplay Music, you'll recall that I talked about a feature called Library Builder. To me, this seemed like a great suggestion. Upon signing up to a service, the first screen that you would be greeted with would resemble the "People You May Know" tool on Facebook. Except it would have artists.
Users could effortlessly check off all the bands they liked and move on.
Trouble is, after reading The Upside of Irrationality, I realized that effortlessness is the enemy of cloud-based music. If you take the effort out of collecting music, you remove the process through which people grow to love and take pride in the music they own. In other words, if cloud-based music services take the effort out of collecting music, they'll never get their users to take ownership of their music.
This is a problem, because what they are hoping to achieve is for users to view their rented music as their own. Following me? Well, I wrote an essay about this theory and I would love if you read it. While I'm quite proud of most of the writing I produce, this piece especially makes me smile. It took two weekends to create and many cups of coffee – not to mention all of the scribbled pieces of paper. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it. Stay curious. Read on.