Much hype has surrounded the upcoming Mega service, the rebirth of Kim Dotcom’s original service, however, on the face of it, the service is only going to succeed due to the strength of the man’s charisma as opposed to any compelling reason for users to consume it.
According to media reports Mega is an online lockbox, likely to be around 50GB, as a starter. It will be supported by advertising. Later on in the year, Megabox is due to kickoff, “that will let musicians sell music to the public online.”
What I am failing to see is why anyone would want to use this given the plethora of Cloud Services that already play in this space?
For example, DropBox already provides the same service, with just over 50GB for nothing, and integrates with all your devices. Cleverly, it also detects when my smartphone is plugged into the wireless or laptop, and uploads all my new images and videos. On top of that, it has two factor authentication. And I can share all that content with whomever I like, securely, easily, and in real time.
Add to the list SkyDrive, Google, and a host of other mature, professional, reputable services, and the market for Mega is very crowded.
Where Mega may ease out the competition is in its Terms and Conditions, which we haven’t seen yet. DropBox and similar Cloud Services are strict about what you can store on their disk and they have arrangements with various policing agencies on access to that data.
It could be that Mega becomes the international tax haven equivalent of Cloud storage. If that is the case, one can assume that there will be a long line of customers who want to store information that is not accessible by policing groups and other interested parties, such as copyright watchdogs.
As for Megabox. The idea of music being sold directly by artists to consumers, the horse has long since bolted. The days of downloading music to a device are swiftly being consigned to history as service like Spotify, Xbox Music, and others have started to dominate the market.
Spotify allows me to listen to pretty much any music in history, anywhere on the planet, and download it (encrypted), for $15 per month. I can’t see why I would change to another service.
Coupled with that, old and new artists have mechanisms for directly selling to the consumer already. In fact, a lot of bands are simply publishing on the Internet under various services, such as The Free Music Archive to promote themselves.
In a world of Cloud services, Mega, or Megabox, is not something I would personally be investing in. It doesn’t seem, on the surface, to have the killer edge that I would expect to see in a new product.
However, all is not revealed yet, and Mr Dotcom may have something up his sleeve that surprises us.