We live in the iTunes era for photography. We are moving into the mobile era. This is changing as quickly as music did after iTunes came into the market.
Photography needs to take the same path as music took more than 10 years ago. Steve Jobs announced the iPod on October 23, 2001.
I remember those early days. I was obsessed with my new toy. My wife actually made me a mix CD called “Too Cool For Your iPod.” She didn’t get that the mixed CD was essentially dead the moment I got the iPod. Similarly, when she got her first iPod she manually pushed 30 songs to it. I asked her if she wanted to me to sync her whole library. She said “No, why would I will just listen to these song and put more on later.”
This story isn’t to pick on my wife (who I love dearly). This seemed to be a common reaction for those of us that grew up with mixed tapes and then mixed CDs. So much as changed since iPods, iPhones, iPads, Dropbox and iCloud came into our lives. We now demand access to everything, at all times. We want this without plugging in devices and without thinking about it.
Strangely, photography hasn’t joined this revolution. We take photos off our DSLR and put them into Lightroom, Bridge or Aperture. That’s mostly where they stay. We are content with this because we don’t know another world. (I wasn’t frustrated with mixed CDs either.)
We push individual photos up to Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and 500px. This makes sense. We don’t want to share everything. But this is where we go to access our own stuff from our mobile devices.
But we personally don’t have instant, automatic access to the things we don’t share. For professionals, we push our clients work manually to our iPads or to website galleries (or even email them pictures!). This process really hasn’t changed since SmugMug launched in 2002.
It’s time for photography to follow every other industry to the cloud. Companies like mine (Mosaic) are helping to usher in this era. By connecting Lightroom to the cloud and giving people access to their entire photo collection from anywhere, we are ushering in the mobile era for photography. This is the era where we aren’t tied to our laptops. The line between devices becomes blurred because we connect through the web to our stuff which looks the same everywhere.
What’s next? All of the existing photo management platforms exist solely on the desktop. This is just like iTunes. What’s one of the hottest platforms in music? Spotify. No desktop software. Cloud access to everything with embedded social features. Photo management needs to become a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) Platform because desktop software is going the way of the mixed CD.
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