Well, the acceleration towards end user data in the Internet cloud is very rapid. Many use Google Docs, DropBox, online backups and much more.
Some time ago Lala.com tried with the concept of end users uploading their iTunes contents for streaming or reusing everywhere. The storage is not a problem as you just keep one copy around; the 80/20 rule is that most of the common music tracks are shared by multiple users, anyway. Well, the record companies killed this Lala idea, but somehow I doubt they will do it again.
It is in the record companies’ interest to go away from purchased material towards a licensed model. There’s more revenue long term if the consumers purchase a license to listen or listen the same material over time.
At the same time the amount of digital consumer products, talking about the amount of boxes and handheld devices in households, is just increasing year by year. From a consumer point of view it would be easier to have access to one single item and share it across multiple devices. So my prediction is that content, games, video, audio and so forth, will for the most part be cloud-based within five years. Either licensed or owned by the consumer but still living in the cloud.
So what has this to do with the working producer? I think the key is to always look at branding, names, titles, make sure they are unique and that the branding of the content products are in place. This as you need to compete with a huge cloud of entertainment. In this huge new world of infinite amounts of ways to spend the free time, it makes sense to try to consolidate and otherwise have simple channels for the consumer to have access to the entertainment.
If you don’t have your own private record label, now is the time to put that in place. But think of branding, if the label contents will be shattered across multiple styles, there might be a need to specialize the brand for a specific style.
Same with artist names, if they have a consistent branding strategy it will be easier to find relevant information in this huge internet content cloud. There will be search engines, social network recommendations and so forth that will bring listeners to your music — so making sure it is easy to find you is the first step — keeping them hooked at your site or content for more than seconds is the next step.