The digital storage revolution is truly upon us following inexorable technology laws that make things better and cheaper at the same time. But strangely, this might only change the game in such a way that we will pay less for what used to, but more for something we never thought as difficult.
That's the feeling I got last week when I saw Moser Baer advertise 4GB USB drives for Rs. 300 — loaded with a Bollywood movie. So you can buy a movie like you did a CD earlier, and then perhaps delete it or store it away somewhere else so you could use it as a pen drive. But that's hardly convenient, if you would rather have all your songs and movies in one place. That is becoming increasingly possible. A voluminous 1 terabyte (that's 1,000 GB — or easily 250 Bollywood movies or 250,000 songs!) external hard drive can be bought for Rs. 6,500. You can also buy a 500 GB device that connects half-a-dozen devices wirelessly for Rs. 10,000 or so (with no Internet connection) That means about 100 movies and 25,000 songs! Small office networks or families with tablet PC links can be run on a network like that to share content.
Online storage can be even cheaper, but then you rent it, not buy it.
All this sounds fine, but I am still logging in to YouTube, of all the sites, to catch my favourite songs. Why? Because, I can, on an impulse, look for the song I want and listen to it in seconds. Given the hectic, demanding lives we lead I would happily pay someone more than I what I pay for storage to transfer the files, collate them, and make them easy to access.
In my opinion, discovery of content and indexing them offer so much convenience that the next wave of online or service businesses related to content will revolve around them. Plain storage is passe. What you do with your storage is what matters increasingly.