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Music exec adds to speculation of Apple's iTunes cloud

post #1 of 72
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Another prediction that Apple's acquisition of streaming music service Lala will result in a cloud-based iTunes service was offered Tuesday, with a digital music executive suggesting purchased content will be available from any browser or Internet-connected device.

In a guest column on TechCrunch, Michael Robertson, a 12-year veteran of the digital music business, former CEO of MP3. com and current CEO of MP3tunes, said he believes Apple will not offer a subscription music service in the future. Instead, he said, the purchase of Lala will allow Apple to create an iTunes service that will make content accessible from anywhere.

"An upcoming major revision of iTunes will copy each user's catalog to the net making it available from any browser or net connected ipod/touch/tablet," he wrote. "The Lala upload technology will be bundled into a future iTunes upgrade which will automatically be installed for the 100+ million itunes users with a simple 'An upgrade is available' notification dialog box.

"After installation iTunes will push in the background their entire media library to their personal mobile iTunes area. Once loaded, users will be able to navigate and play their music, videos and playlists from their personal URL using a browser based iTunes experience."

Robertson's column echoes what was said over a month ago by The Wall Street Journal: Apple will change its iTunes business model to focus on Internet-based content. The $85 million purchase of Lala will allow users to access and manage their iTunes purchases directly through the Internet without downloading the content in question, or the iTunes software.

In its current form, iTunes requires users to download and manage purchased content on a per-computer basis. But with Internet-based management, users could log into their iTunes account and access and stream all of their music from any computer, or device, with an Internet connection. Apple could even sell music on other Web sites or through Web-based search results.

In addition, analyst Maynard J. Um of UBS Investment Research said in early December that he believes iTunes content will become available from a Web browser and other Apple devices. The purchase of Lala could tie in to Apple's $1 billion server farm in North Carolina.

The presence of iTunes on the Web has already grown, with the iTunes Preview Web page being introduced in early 2009, and browser-based 30-second song samples coming soon after. The iTunes Preview site allows users to view content available from the service without opening the media suite software.

Robertson wrote Tuesday that he expects a mobile iTunes to appear in 2010, allowing Apple to "protect their media franchise from encroachment." Such a move, he said, would allow the Cupertino, Calif., company to stay well ahead of the competition.

"Think Amazon/e-commerce, Microsoft/OS, Google/search, Apple/media," he wrote. "(Apple co-founder Steve) Jobs is keenly aware of the digital transition from PC to cloud centric programs and services. Its imperative Apple lead in this transition or risk ceding leadership in media to others such as Amazon, Real, Microsoft, Yahoo, etc."
post #2 of 72
This seems a logical way to go although I doubt IE will be supported
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post #3 of 72
Too bad it probably wont work with video. It sure seems a good answer to the managing video though. Just purchase video content and stream it, no backup, or media management issues. I would definitely purchase more TV shows and movies if this were the model.
post #4 of 72
What about people with massive catalogs like 500gb?
post #5 of 72
While this sounds logical it would have to be for Mobile Me users only and even then it's sketch. Think about this - how many GB's is the average users library? If this service was completely free think of the exabytes this would use up for 100 million users. I cannot see this being free and even then it could be more along the lines of this:

I purchased a song/movie/audiobook etc from iTunes, it downloads to my computer & a file is created then on the iTunes Cloud saying I purchased certain files, then when I try to access it from any other device it verifies that I did purchase that from that file and streams the file to me from their typical storage location. This way it would eliminate Apple storing users files that may have been pirated and then it would also eliminate thousands of duplicates of the same files on iTunes Servers.

Apple then would be providing you access to all your legally purchased content and then end user then would be able to take advantage of this new service they purchased with Lala and stream it to any browser or Internet-connected device.

Hope this makes sense.
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post #6 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

This seems a logical way to go although I doubt IE will be supported

MS has been making IE more and more standards complaint. The open standards revolution beat them.
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post #7 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by O4BlackWRX View Post

While this sounds logical it would have to be for Mobile Me users only and even then it's sketch. Think about this - how many GB's is the average users library? If this service was completely free think of the exabytes this would use up for 100 million users. I cannot see this being free and even then it could be more along the lines of this:

Lala.com already does this and it works fantastically well. Any "mainstream" music that you have that matches titles in their catalog it just gives your listening priveleges to. Content unique to your library is uploaded. It took many hours to do the unique content but I presently have all of my iTunes available to me wherever I go on lala.com. It is absolutely brilliant and I encourage you to try it out yourself.

Their downloaded application, which is similar to Amazon's, handles the uploading.
post #8 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Object-X View Post

Too bad it probably wont work with video. It sure seems a good answer to the managing video though. Just purchase video content and stream it, no backup, or media management issues. I would definitely purchase more TV shows and movies if this were the model.

I agree with the thinking on the video side vs. the audio side. At least it could put iTunes movies on better footing to compete with Netflix and eliminate the problem of having to eat up HD storage for content that would likely be accessed far less often than music files.

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post #9 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post

What about people with massive catalogs like 500gb?

The more music you have, the more beneficial this would be to you, as you are less likely to have your entire collection with you all the time. From Apple's perspective, they probably wouldn't make you upload your entire library. You would only have to upload songs not available on iTunes servers (assuming they will let you back up non-iTunes purchases). Apple wouldn't be giving individual users 500GB of storage space, they would mostly be indexing what you have and allowing you to stream those songs from iTunes servers. At least that is what I have deduced from previous articles on this topic.
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post #10 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bweston View Post

Lala.com already does this and it works fantastically well. Any "mainstream" music that you have that matches titles in their catalog it just gives your listening priveleges to. Content unique to your library is uploaded. It took many hours to do the unique content but I presently have all of my iTunes available to me wherever I go on lala.com. It is absolutely brilliant and I encourage you to try it out yourself.

That's great! I actually didn't know Lala could do this to my entire library (i.e. songs not available on Lala's catalog included). If that's the case, though, it obviously won't be free for everyone once iTunes absorbs the service. Even the $1billion server farm wouldn't handle it.

Luckily I'm already a MobileMe subscriber!
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post #11 of 72
Then this sounds great just so long as the quality doesn't take a hit. If my library is 500gb, 1tb with videos its for a reason. I have good quality equipment and I do hear and see the difference in quality from my music or dvd rips. If they index things from my music library, will I get to stream lossless tracks or simply the standard quality? And if it is the higher quality, does that mean everyone who has the mp3 version gets an upgrade in quality when they stream? Seems they will either archive the low or high quality.
post #12 of 72
What about the approx. 20% of my audio tracks not found in the iTunes Store?
post #13 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

The more music you have, the more beneficial this would be to you, as you are less likely to have your entire collection with you all the time. From Apple's perspective, they probably wouldn't make you upload your entire library. You would only have to upload songs not available on iTunes servers (assuming they will let you back up non-iTunes purchases). Apple wouldn't be giving individual users 500GB of storage space, they would mostly be indexing what you have and allowing you to stream those songs from iTunes servers. At least that is what I have deduced from previous articles on this topic.

If this were the case, I'd have no use for this service, except as a backup. I use DOTTUNES, which is free, and allows me to do for myself what Apple wants to do. My terabyte of music and video are served up from my computer at home using Dottunes. Full quality, not this Pandora/Simplify/Lala nonsense. Music and Video.

Free. Private. Encrypted. Reliable. Last thing I want to do is get out on the road and see a "We'll be back soon!" stickie when I try to log on to my "iTunes Cloud"
post #14 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post

Then this sounds great just so long as the quality doesn't take a hit. If my library is 500gb, 1tb with videos its for a reason. I have good quality equipment and I do hear and see the difference in quality from my music or dvd rips. If they index things from my music library, will I get to stream lossless tracks or simply the standard quality? And if it is the higher quality, does that mean everyone who has the mp3 version gets an upgrade in quality when they stream? Seems they will either archive the low or high quality.

Quality may not take much of a hit but your bitrate will surely take a major hit if you expect lossless to be streamed. Just look at the bitrate for ALAC files. It's not feasible to stream that much data with little to no beneft or most. I'm not even sure we can expect 256kbps AAC from this service, especially if it's offered as a bonus service.
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post #15 of 72
iTunes online will look just like iTunes - just like the Me.com site reproduces the Mac software. That will be hott.
post #16 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

If this were the case, I'd have no use for this service, except as a backup. I use DOTTUNES, which is free, and allows me to do for myself what Apple wants to do. My terabyte of music and video are served up from my computer at home using Dottunes. Full quality, not this Pandora/Simplify/Lala nonsense. Music and Video.

Free. Private. Encrypted. Reliable. Last thing I want to do is get out on the road and see a "We'll be back soon!" stickie when I try to log on to my "iTunes Cloud"

I can guarantee you this will not be a backup service. It's likely going to grab a master list of your music library, probably ignoring the billions of ill-formed metadata files. It'll match your list to your name and let you grab their streaming master fom their server.

One copy of the song, not copy of the song per user account. I guarantee this will also use HTTP Live Streaming. I even wonder if it will grab anything you haven't previously purchased without first requiring some additional fee to allow streaming of the song.
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post #17 of 72
They'll probably have surcharges for LaLa content space beyond a certain default "free" amount on top of the MobileMe $99/yr. And then there'll be an additional iTunes tab for which music to synch to the cloud.

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post #18 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by ilogic View Post

iTunes online will look just like iTunes - just like the Me.com site reproduces the Mac software. That will be hott.

The iTunes Store has already moved to WebKit making it HTML, CSS and JS. I wonder if the rest of the of browser-based iTunes will be released when they release iTunes X that is all Cocoa and 64-bit. I expect some dramatic UI changes. Also, I think they need to have a full browser-based version even if to maintain dominance when Chrome OS starts shipping on cheap machines.
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post #19 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bweston View Post

Lala.com already does this and it works fantastically well. Any "mainstream" music that you have that matches titles in their catalog it just gives your listening priveleges to.... .

Couldn't a person cheat that by just making up sound files of a certain length and changing the title of the file or tags in order to gain privileges to a real music file. I'm only asking since I'm sure some people would try that.
post #20 of 72
This is exciting news.
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post #21 of 72
Sounds like a terrible idea.

I want complete control of my library whenever, wherever and with whatever device I choose. There are so many reasons not to use a service like this and only a few minor advantages offered to even consider changing to it. At least for me.

No thanks, I'll keep my stuff on my own machine. I hope we will have an opt out available.

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post #22 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

If this were the case, I'd have no use for this service, except as a backup. I use DOTTUNES, which is free, and allows me to do for myself what Apple wants to do. My terabyte of music and video are served up from my computer at home using Dottunes. Full quality, not this Pandora/Simplify/Lala nonsense. Music and Video.

Free. Private. Encrypted. Reliable. Last thing I want to do is get out on the road and see a "We'll be back soon!" stickie when I try to log on to my "iTunes Cloud"

So if you use your own computer as a server, you don't need Apples? I don't think most people fit into that category. Just because you don't have any use for this service doesn't make it a bad idea. Also, I don't know why people think this wouldn't apply to video as well...

Thanks for the information on Dottunes, I hadn't heard about it before. I think you are likely wrong on the reliability argument though, I doubt Apple would take down their streaming site when they update the online store, but I would see their servers as more impervious to things like power outages than yours would be. I'd also rather not leave my computer on all day just in case I want to access my iTunes library. Dottunes may be free, but power isn't.
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post #23 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post

What about people with massive catalogs like 500gb?

It doesn't copy them, it views them and gives you access to the same tracks.
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post #24 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Sounds like a terrible idea.

I want complete control of my library whenever, wherever and with whatever device I choose.

You can download them like before, this would be an additional option.
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post #25 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

Sounds like a terrible idea.

I want complete control of my library whenever, wherever and with whatever device I choose. There are so many reasons not to use a service like this and only a few minor advantages offered to even consider changing to it. At least for me.

No thanks, I'll keep my stuff on my own machine. I hope we will have an opt out available.

I think this is the biggest misconception about this potential service. It would be designed to supplement the current purchase and download system, not replace it.
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post #26 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

You can download them like before, this would be an additional option.

They can't even get the cover art right. I wouldn't expect them to get the track right every time either.

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post #27 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by johndoe98 View Post

What about people with massive catalogs like 500gb?

they aren't actually going to copy everyone's music to their cloud. they will have a copy of everything and you will get access to whatever is in your iTunes. Probably for a price to take piracy into account.

it's like the old mp3.com from 15 years ago
post #28 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post

Couldn't a person cheat that by just making up sound files of a certain length and changing the title of the file or tags in order to gain privileges to a real music file. I'm only asking since I'm sure some people would try that.

MD5 checksums
post #29 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

I think this is the biggest misconception about this potential service. It would be designed to supplement the current purchase and download system, not replace it.

I am baffled how this is being so widely perceived as a backup or an alternative for maintaining a local music library.
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post #30 of 72
Wouldn't a service like this in some ways obsolete the iPod? I mean a lot of times i will take my iPod to work with me and use the speakers there to listen to my music, or use it a friends house to listen to music, if I can stream it why would I need to keep investing in an iPod? Seems like this would eat away at one of Apples flagship products.

Also, I am not a big fan of the whole cloud computing thing, I prefer to keep my info in my control and not let some techie hit the wrong button and eliminate it (ala T-Modbile sidekick).

And yes this is my first post after months of lurking so please don't beat me up to bad.
post #31 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

They can't even get the cover art right. I wouldn't expect them to get the track right every time either.

That had nothing to do with the statement you quoted me on, but I would suggest fixing your tags. I don't check cover art too often, so they could be getting some stuff wrong, but most often it would probably have to do with the tags, or alternate covers for the same album.
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post #32 of 72
Intriguing, and also sorta doubtful.

The thing I'd find cool about this is that if I rip my CDs in lossless, if it was indexed in 'the cloud' I could have the lossless version at home where I actually use it, and a 128kb version on the go, which is all I need in my iPod or car or whatever. Saves space on my iPod.

The thing I don't know is how they'll handle items not associated with iTunes. Even more, items not associated with anything. As a musician, I have some of my own stuff on my iPod. I wouldn't want it automatically downloaded to Apple's farm just because it's unique.

Something feels a little 'big brother' about this, and I don't like the smell of it. I think I'd opt out too.
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post #33 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by al_bundy View Post

MD5 checksums

Those can be faked without providing the correct data. Piracy seems much easier. I don't thinknot's going to be your entire library specifically because of the possibility of giving away streaming to pirates. Remember, Lala wasn't able to turn a profit so doing things differntly may be in order.
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post #34 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by machei View Post

Something feels a little 'big brother' about this, and I don't like the smell of it. I think I'd opt out too.

That is more paranoia than anything else.
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post #35 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by O4BlackWRX View Post

While this sounds logical it would have to be for Mobile Me users only and even then it's sketch. Think about this - how many GB's is the average users library? If this service was completely free think of the exabytes this would use up for 100 million users. I cannot see this being free and even then it could be more along the lines of this:

I purchased a song/movie/audiobook etc from iTunes, it downloads to my computer & a file is created then on the iTunes Cloud saying I purchased certain files, then when I try to access it from any other device it verifies that I did purchase that from that file and streams the file to me from their typical storage location. This way it would eliminate Apple storing users files that may have been pirated and then it would also eliminate thousands of duplicates of the same files on iTunes Servers.

Apple then would be providing you access to all your legally purchased content and then end user then would be able to take advantage of this new service they purchased with Lala and stream it to any browser or Internet-connected device.

Hope this makes sense.

I was thinking the same thing. I can't see sending my 1.5TB catalogue of video and music to Apple, especially when 2/3 of it was purchased from them in the first place.
Even if it was only music, I'm still looking at almost 300GB. Sadly, only a small amount of that came from iTunes.
post #36 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

This seems a logical way to go although I doubt IE will be supported

oh get a grip, WHO CARES about 'Old' Internept Exploder??!!


(I'm a PC Consultant/Tech in the NYC area and I always ADVISE my people to AVOID using Internept Exploder and just download:

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use any of the above and you will def be much better off...

OPERA is my FAV at the moment because of the LIVE STREAMING itunes feature from ANY desktop to your Itunes Library- and the 'insert personal' feature button as well- saves me a lot of time when filling out web forms-

just don't use THAT HORRID PC CRAP Of an excuse for a web experience IE- urrrrrrgghh!!
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post #37 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

That had nothing to do with the statement you quoted me on, but I would suggest fixing your tags. I don't check cover art too often, so they could be getting some stuff wrong, but most often it would probably have to do with the tags, or alternate covers for the same album.


...good to know, however I don't recall quoting a previous statement of yours, if I misquoted you my apologies.

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post #38 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

...good to know, however I don't recall quoting a previous statement of yours, if I misquoted you my apologies.

hmm looks like i misquoted you .
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post #39 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by cmf2 View Post

I think this is the biggest misconception about this potential service. It would be designed to supplement the current purchase and download system, not replace it.


I guess I misunderstood this paragraph:

""An upcoming major revision of iTunes will copy each user's catalog to the net making it available from any browser or net connected ipod/touch/tablet," he wrote. "The Lala upload technology will be bundled into a future iTunes upgrade which will automatically be installed for the 100+ million itunes users with a simple 'An upgrade is available' notification dialog box."

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post #40 of 72
Honest question here (and no doubt I'm getting distracted from the real point of the article by getting stuck on the headlines but please bear with me): Why doesn't iTunes already count as a cloud service? It seems like every now and then I see someone getting frustrated about the over-use of that particular buzzword, who then points out that services like iTunes have been doing cloud computing for ages, and no one noticed. It seems a little artificial to say that we don't call something 'cloud' unless it's browser-accessible.
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