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More Details on Apple's Cloud-based Music Locker


Apple seems to be getting ready to launch their cloud-based digital music "locker" service that has been rumored for many months. But contrary to an earlier Reuters report, All Things D has heard that Apple has already come to terms with two of the four major record labels about the service, and that Apple's Eddy Cue will be in New York tomorrow to try to finalize the remaining deals.

The negotiating of these deals is in contrast to Amazon's music storage service which notably launched last month without any deals in place -- a fact that the record labels were not very happy about. Apple is said to have been "very aggressive and thoughtful about it" and "It feels like they want to go pretty soon", according to an unnamed music executive. All Things D also provides some details about how the service might work from Apple:

The industry executives I've talked to haven't seen Apples service themselves, but say they're aware of the broad strokes. The idea is that Apple will let users store songs theyve purchased from its iTunes store, as well as others songs stored on their hard drives, and listen to them on multiple devices.

All Things D points out that having official licenses can allow Apple to store a single master copy of a song rather than storing individual copies for every user. Amazon's original argument against needing the licenses was that their service was the same as any upload storage service. This meant that users needed to upload copies of their old music to be able to stream them. With the proper deals, Apple could avoid the need to upload individual copies and simply allow users to stream off of the single master copy. This could save on significant upload time for the user and storage requirements for Apple.

Top Rated Comments

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43 months ago
How does streaming music to my iPhone help me, when O2 cap my Internet usage, and then charge when you use more.
Rating: 6 Votes
43 months ago

I have no idea how this would be useful. Buffer times, connection loss, no WiFi around, these are all problems that will prevent this from working.

What's wrong with storing music on hard drives locally?


Yeah, my sentiments exactly. This seems pretty useless, at least for me. I can't get too excited about it.
Rating: 5 Votes
43 months ago
I really hope this happens but I have a feeling that it will be hobbled in some way. If it runs from an iTunes master copy of songs then it might preclude people uploading music that has been ripped from CDs or bought somewhere else (like Amazon).
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago

A lot of people have more than 5GB in their music collection, so for these people the Amazon service doesn't work.


Purchase an MP3 album from the Amazon MP3 Store by 11:59 PM PST on December 31, 2011.

* If you qualify for this offer and either have not signed up for Amazon Cloud Drive or have the 5GB Amazon Cloud Drive plan, you will be automatically eligible for the 20 GB plan for one year from the date of your MP3 album purchase. Unless you set your account to auto-renew to a paid plan, the 20 GB plan will revert to a free plan one year from the date of your MP3 album purchase.

* If your Amazon Cloud Drive account is already at 20 GB or higher when you qualify for this offer, the offer will be saved to your account as a $20 credit toward any future Amazon Cloud Drive plan fees you may incur at the time your plan renews or at the time you upgrade your plan. If you elect to downgrade your plan to a free plan at the time of renewal, your upgrade offer will be applied towards the 20 GB plan at that time.

MP3 albumes start at just 69 cents
Rating: 4 Votes
43 months ago

So Apple's method could be more efficient their side, offering a spotify type model where everyone accesses the same iTunes purchased track (except this time they own it) instead of Amazon's where each indivdual track is stored in their "digital locker"?

A nice bt of foresight by Apple if so.


It's not really an original idea. Lala was doing this last year, until Apple bought them and shut them down.
Rating: 3 Votes
43 months ago
I believe that Apple will offer a hybrid system:

1) iTunes purchases available from anywhere to any Mac or iOS device without local storage necessary.
[LIST]
[*]This would satisfy the labels and studios because it wouldn't allow users to potentially benefit from improving the use of pirated material
[*]It would fortify Apple's position in media sales because it would encourage people to buy from iTunes
[*]iTunes sales would increase exponentially, justifying offering Me.com for free
[*]This system would eliminate the need for Apple's responsibility for upload bandwidth, only streaming downloads from items that are already stored on iTunes servers
[/LIST]

2) Other non-iTunes media would still be stored locally on a Mac or PC in iTunes' database but Me.com would facilitate streaming from your iTunes to any other Mac or iOS device.

[LIST]
[*]I think this system would satisfy most people:
[*]You get to have access to all your media -- iTunes and non-iTunes -- on all your devices anywhere you are.
[*]iTunes content staying on the server means no need to manage large file libraries (option to download to your HDD if you wish)
[*]Free Me.com
[/LIST]

The only compromise is that non-iTunes content would mean that you have to have iTunes running at home. I think this is a fair compromise. Maybe you can pay for server space to upload your non-iTunes content but perhaps it's better to just purchase your content on iTunes instead.
Rating: 2 Votes
43 months ago

I really hope this happens but I have a feeling that it will be hobbled in some way. If it runs from an iTunes master copy of songs then it might preclude people uploading music that has been ripped from CDs or bought somewhere else (like Amazon).


Actually, Amazon gives you 5 gigs of space on your cloud drive for your own MP3s. When/if you buy songs from them, you get additional space for the songs you've purchased.
Rating: 2 Votes
43 months ago

How does streaming music to my iPhone help me, when O2 cap my Internet usage, and then charge when you use more.


Just another option. Might not be a solution for you (nor me) but I can see the advantage for some people.
Rating: 2 Votes
43 months ago
Other songs from their hard drives. That would be truly awesome! I do hope that that makes it into the final product.
Rating: 2 Votes
43 months ago

I have no idea how this would be useful. Buffer times, connection loss, no WiFi around, these are all problems that will prevent this from working.

What's wrong with storing music on hard drives locally?


Buffer times and connection loss could be eliminated as problems very easily:

When you load a playlist, your iPhone begins to download all the songs immediately in the background. Since a song is only a few megabytes, several songs could be downloaded in the span of one song during playback. These songs are then cached in a pre-determined sized local library and kept there until needed to make room for new incoming songs. A smart system could be employed to determine songs that should be prioritized to be kept in cache based on playcount and other listening patterns.

In an iPhone with 32GB of flash, a few GB of music could be cached without taking much room yet storing massive amounts of songs without the risk of interruption from slow or loss of connection.

What I'm looking forward to the most is how this service will work with video. I love Apple's move to a streaming format for tv because downloading and storing movies and tv shows is unsustainable in the long term. Laptops and iOS devices have limited HDD/flash space and it's a complex chore to maintain a video library on an external HDD separate from your iTunes music library. Backing up is also a problem for libraries that can exceed a TB or more.

Buying the rights to a movie or TV episode is preferable. You can then stream that video to any iTunes enabled device including in a mobile device like an iPad which would otherwise not be able to hold much video because of its limited storage capacity.

Finally, one important thing to note is that this cloud locker will free one more of the chains that is preventing iPad from becoming autonomous from a computer. With mobileMe taking care of syncing email, address book, iCal, and bookmarks, and now this music locker taking care of granting you access to your entire iTunes library, you won't need to sync an iPad/iPod/iPhone to a Mac or PC again. Poof! There's your wireless syncing that everybody's been clamouring for.
Rating: 2 Votes

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