My honest belief is that Sawnd is right, and that with adequate meta data available, the cloud has more to offer for less effort than the alternative. For instance, if I could tag streaming tracks delicious-style as I am listening to them, then stop into 7/11 or someplace, hand them $7.95 and walk away with a cheap SD card containing those tracks that I can playback in my phone or music player, that would be ideal – like a backup.

I do believe, however, that a cloud system needs to be underpinned by one or more centralized curators. Internet Archive, for instance, is doing a fantastic job with many different type of audio recording because IA identifies everything as artifact first, and product second. This is as important for our songs as it is for our books.

I am personally inspired when I search IA for a recording of a live show, and find two different recordings taken from different vantages and with different equipment. Parallax necessitates the cloud; monoliths, not so much.

This sort of discussion always takes me back to working as a college-radio DJ – part of our mission was to add content to airplay, a direct attack on computer-driven stations which provide nothing but a stream of music. Whether people actually care one way or the other remains undecided, I suppose. The advantage of the cloud approach is that it covers both bases. I can’t argue against that.