Piers, I think the value proposition is about being able to live in the cloud, and to have dsomebody else deal with maintenance tasks like backups, duplicates, and accurate metadata. It’s the URL rather than the MP3 that matters. Genuinely underground music is very competitive in the cloud.
The deal about the song not being just in the encoded artifact but in the entire envelope is so weird and avant that I don’t feel confident saying aything about it fits into this conversation. I mean, yeah I completely agree that “Once it’s on my iPod, because there is no associated provenance, I don’t know where the hell it came from, and this is a liability.”
Now that I think about it, that seems like an argument for streaming music over downloaded stuff, because the streamed stuff can’t be separated from its URL.