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Apple's cloud-based iTunes music streaming service is 'completed' - report

post #1 of 68
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Apple is said to have "completed work" on its long-rumored cloud-based iTunes music streaming service, which will allow users to access their entire collection of music from any Internet-connected device.

Citing anonymous sources, Reuters reported Thursday that Apple is "set to launch" its streaming service. Apple has allegedly achieved the milestone ahead of rival Google, which has seen its own efforts for a streaming music service stall.

"Apple's plans will allow iTunes customers to store their songs on a remote server, and then access them from wherever they have an Internet connection, said two of these people who asked not to be named as the talks are still confidential," the report said.

It also said that Apple does not yet have any new licensing agreements with the recording industry. It's possible that Apple could proceed without those licenses, as Amazon did, when it launched its own cloud service.

But music labels reportedly still hope to secure new deals with Apple before it launches its own streaming service. Those in the record industry have not been given an indication when Apple plans to debut the new product.

While Apple is forging ahead, Google is allegedly stuck in negotiations with record labels. One source said that the search giant has changed its proposals numerous times at the bargaining table, switching from an iTunes-like storefront with a digital locker service to a music subscription service with a recurring fee.

Music executives reportedly feel that Google's shifting stances may be a result of regime change at the company. Company co-founder Larry Page recently took over for former CEO Eric Schmidt, signaling a shift in direction for the company.

Rumors of an iTunes cloud service have persisted for some time, but it was said that Apple found itself in a stalemate in negotiations with record labels.

As those negotiations have continued, Apple has pushed forward in other areas behind the scenes, hiring key personnel and working on its anticipated "digital locker" service. Just last week, AppleInsider was first to report that Apple is assembling a small team to build "the future of cloud services."

In February, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple will unveil an enhanced version of its existing $99-per-year MobileMe cloud service. The new MobileMe is expected to include a digital "locker" that wills tore personal files such as photos, music and videos.
post #2 of 68
Maybe I am in the dark here... But I can care less about this proposed service.

Enough music resides on my iDevices at all times for my listening pleasure. Why should consumers care about this product?
post #3 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Maybe I am in the dark here... But I can care less about this proposed service.

Enough music resides on my iDevices at all times for my listening pleasure. Why should consumers care about this product?

personally I would love for my 20GB music library to be stored in the cloud, which would free up space on my 16GB iPhone for large apps (navigation, for example) or more video recording on-the-go without maxing out the memory. Plus all of my photos available, at all times, wherever i am, is a good thing.
post #4 of 68
But can it compete with Spotify, which offers a MUCH more lightweight client than iTunes and a great library as well as a free service?
post #5 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by neiltc13 View Post

But can it compete with Spotify, which offers a MUCH more lightweight client than iTunes and a great library as well as a free service?

The iPod app will probably play stuff.
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post #6 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post

personally I would love for my 20GB music library to be stored in the cloud, which would free up space on my 16GB iPhone for large apps (navigation, for example) or more video recording on-the-go without maxing out the memory. Plus all of my photos available, at all times, wherever i am, is a good thing.

20 GB of music + x GB of photos? At what price point? $100.00 a year for 50 GB like DropBox... I use to love Mozy. But their price points now are cost prohibitive for me.

Noting Apple does is cheap from a consumer point of view....
post #7 of 68
I have a question...

I have about 30 gigs of music on my ipod touch. About 90% of it i ripped from CDs i bought back in the day, so i own that music. Only 10% of my music i purchased from apples itunes store...if that.

So will i be able to load ALL my music onto this cloud? Or only the songs i bought from apples itunes store?

Id love to be able to put my ENTIRE music library in the cloud, so that i could listen to it from my ipad.
post #8 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Maybe I am in the dark here... But I can care less about this proposed service.

Enough music resides on my iDevices at all times for my listening pleasure. Why should consumers care about this product?

I agree with you as this relates to mobile iOS devices. I personally just don't see the need, although maybe some people have much bigger libraries than I do. For me there isn;t much point.

However, this is completely different when discussing my AppleTV 2. I hate having to walk back to my office to wake my MacBook and launch iTunes in order to stream something to the living room. But with cloud streaming, I can just stream it all directly from Apple's cloud servers. Yeah, I like this idea alot.
post #9 of 68
Here's to hoping this service w/ a new mobile me comes out very soon. My mobile me account expires today and I have been stalling on renewing for this very reason.

I really need this to come out before all my data goes away. (I think I have 15 days).
post #10 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by regan View Post

I have a question...

I have about 30 gigs of music on my ipod touch. About 90% of it i ripped from CDs i bought back in the day, so i own that music. Only 10% of my music i purchased from apples itunes store...if that.

So will i be able to load ALL my music onto this cloud? Or only the songs i bought from apples itunes store?

Id love to be able to put my ENTIRE music library in the cloud, so that i could listen to it from my ipad.

This is a very good question. I think my library is about 50/50, so I am in a similar boat. Unfortunately my guess is that it will only work with purchased content. The way I envision it, is that we won't actually upload anything to the servers really. Apple will just do a scan of our libraries, and see what all we have purchased. We will then have access to stream this from Apple, like an unlimited rental model. But only for music they know we purchased.

Again, this is just my guess.
post #11 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJinTX View Post

This is a very good question. I think my library is about 50/50, so I am in a similar boat. Unfortunately my guess is that it will only work with purchased content. The way I envision it, is that we won't actually upload anything to the servers really. Apple will just do a scan of our libraries, and see what all we have purchased. We will then have access to stream this from Apple, like an unlimited rental model. But only for music they know we purchased.

Again, this is just my guess.

I think you're correct.
post #12 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Maybe I am in the dark here... But I can care less about this proposed service.

Enough music resides on my iDevices at all times for my listening pleasure. Why should consumers care about this product?

I don't care about this either. Seems like the same as the Verizon situation... Lots of people bitching about it, then a small number of actual users after the fact. Apple needs to stop listening to the Interwebz.

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post #13 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by regan View Post

I have a question...

I have about 30 gigs of music on my ipod touch. About 90% of it i ripped from CDs i bought back in the day, so i own that music. Only 10% of my music i purchased from apples itunes store...if that.

So will i be able to load ALL my music onto this cloud? Or only the songs i bought from apples itunes store?

Id love to be able to put my ENTIRE music library in the cloud, so that i could listen to it from my ipad.

I dont think Apple loading everyones entire iTunes library files is likely. Id think it works like Time Machine and Dropbox where it reads your database and then gives you links to the files you have without inefficiently uploading duplicates.

The question about music not purchased on iTS be accessible from this service is a good one. I dont see any financial gain for allowing that, as well as some extra legal issues by allowing it.
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post #14 of 68
Is this why iTunes is acting funny? I didn't need to log in but when I view the app store and selections it is definitely out of whack. Anyone else having issues with aoo store in iTunes?

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post #15 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Maybe I am in the dark here... But I can care less about this proposed service.

Enough music resides on my iDevices at all times for my listening pleasure. Why should consumers care about this product?

The correct saying is "I couldn't care less". Unless you meant it as you said it which case you are actually interested in the service.

My imagination suggests to me that it wouldn't be for just music (that seems very short sighted). Also, what you may be missing is the potential for apple to make devices that have very little flash memory. which means they can make them less expensive....no need for 16,32,64 gb of flash memory in your iphone since all of your media will be in the cloud and streamed/cached to you, your phone might only have 4 or 8 gb in that case.

another scenario is syncing. Your phone might sync via the cloud instead of your computer, it may no longer be necessary to have a computer to sync your ipad for example.

this service might also be used in desktop and laptops allowing a persons entire suit of software and profile settings to follow them no matter what computer they log onto.

The reason why this seems plausible is due to the fact that the entire industry is moving in this direction. Google and Microsoft are known to be working on cloudy computing for the OS.
post #16 of 68
I have about 6 terra byte in my Itunes.
Would be fun to have that on the cloud. But I think this service is only for stuff you bought from Apple. I think I have about 400 meg of stuff (excluding apps) that I have bought from them.
post #17 of 68
Spotify is not available in the US.
post #18 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I dont think Apple loading everyones entire iTunes library files is likely. Id think it works like Time Machine and Dropbox where it reads your database and then gives you links to the files you have without inefficiently uploading duplicates.

The question about music not purchased on iTS be accessible from this service is a good one. I dont see any financial gain for allowing that, as well as some extra legal issues by allowing it.

I think it will allow media that hasnt been purchased via itunes. If they try to exclude it I think they will find that the user will become frustrated with remembering which files are in the cloud and which are on the hdd. It's not very elegant and would likely result in a poor adoption rate. With every passing month you can see more and more that the next big battle will be fought in the Clouds, fought over by the tech companies for the rights store your data and charge you for it....(see all the numerous cloud services that have popped up thus far). Apple has to know that should Google with their chrome OS and all the rest of competitors get hold of your data it will be hard for them to win you back.

As for legal issues. I would say this is actually better for the industry as a tool for fighting piracy than the alternative. If for example Apple says that you may upload the file that you haven't purchased via iTunes I have to imagine that you will not be inclined to constantly download and re-share the files as much as if they existed souly on your hdd. (admittedly this feels like a weak argument but I think there is value in it when you consider that Apple may have some scheme that is in the same vain but more refined).
post #19 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I dont think Apple loading everyones entire iTunes library files is likely. Id think it works like Time Machine and Dropbox where it reads your database and then gives you links to the files you have without inefficiently uploading duplicates.

The question about music not purchased on iTS be accessible from this service is a good one. I dont see any financial gain for allowing that, as well as some extra legal issues by allowing it.

From the labels' perspective, there would be no way to tell if a ripped CD file was from a purchased copy or a borrowed copy or a repurchased used copy or a shared file. Streaming rights to such tracks would amount to the labels declaring that once a CD copy of music is sold those tracks become available for streaming to as many people who have access to the ripped files, by whatever mechanism.

Needless to say, pretty much the definition of the industry's nightmare, so I doubt they would ever grant any such right (at least without charging onerous fees).
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post #20 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcahill009 View Post

Here's to hoping this service w/ a new mobile me comes out very soon. My mobile me account expires today and I have been stalling on renewing for this very reason.

I really need this to come out before all my data goes away. (I think I have 15 days).

mobileme is nolonger for sale...will you still have to pay for the renewal? It might be free for you now until they release the new mobileme service.
post #21 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by dish View Post

I think it will allow media that hasnt been purchased via itunes. If they try to exclude it I think they will find that the user will become frustrated with remembering which files are in the cloud and which are on the hdd. It's not very elegant and would likely result in a poor adoption rate.

iTunes has been adopted and I have to remember what files I have added to the app and which I access from either QuickTime or Movist(VLC) because iTunes wont upload it. Its not the most convenient thing but I still use iTunes for video storage, rentals and purchases, and Apple has seemingly disallowed other containers/codecs for legal reasons.
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post #22 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJinTX View Post

I hate having to walk back to my office to wake my MacBook and launch iTunes in order to stream something to the living room. But with cloud streaming, I can just stream it all directly from Apple's cloud servers. Yeah, I like this idea alot.

FWIW, my macbook wakes up when i pull up my iTunes library on my ATV2. tell the machine to never sleep, just sleep the display. Power draw is relatively insignificant on a laptop with drives spun down, processor idle and screen off. Heck, my iTunes library is on an external HD connected to the laptop that's smart enough to wake up when it's needed and sleep when it's done, too.

also, @ cloud computing being used because it's too much effort to walk into the other room.
post #23 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

From the labels' perspective, there would be no way to tell if a ripped CD file was from a purchased copy or a borrowed copy or a repurchased used copy or a shared file. Streaming rights to such tracks would amount to the labels declaring that once a CD copy of music is sold those tracks become available for streaming to as many people who have access to the ripped files, by whatever mechanism.

Needless to say, pretty much the definition of the industry's nightmare, so I doubt they would ever grant any such right (at least without charging onerous fees).

Which is why I think its more likely that only files that are registered with your iTS purchase list will be available to you.

Even if Apple could get away with it allowing people to purchase content from, say, Amazon just to upload it to iTunes to steam would not be beneficial. To me it sounds like that would reduce their iTS music hold and help deteriorate their ecosystem.
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post #24 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Which is why I think its more likely that only files that are registered with your iTS purchase list will be available to you.

Even if Apple could get away with it allowing people to purchase content from, say, Amazon just to upload it to iTunes to steam would not be beneficial. To me it sounds like that would reduce their iTS music hold and help deteriorate their ecosystem.

Agreed. Look at how updates and already purchased notifications work in the MAS. Apple clearly wants people to buy into the ecosystem from the beginning, and are willing to orphan previous transactions in order to encourage you to do so (although to be fair there are technical reasons why not trying to track the status of non-MAS purchase makes sense).
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post #25 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleStud View Post

personally I would love for my 20GB music library to be stored in the cloud, which would free up space on my 16GB iPhone for large apps (navigation, for example) or more video recording on-the-go without maxing out the memory. Plus all of my photos available, at all times, wherever i am, is a good thing.

Yeah? And with residential bandwidth not exactly the fastest in this country how long, exactly, would it take you to upload that 20GB? A couple of weeks? And don't forget the data caps that a lot of providers are fixing to impose, like at&t on May 2.

So yes, those well off enough to have an OC3 into their home this will be great. For the rest of us not so much.
post #26 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by dish View Post

The correct saying is "I couldn't care less". Unless you meant it as you said it which case you are actually interested in the service.

...

this service might also be used in desktop and laptops allowing a persons entire suit of software and profile settings to follow them no matter what computer they log onto.

...

I don't normally correct others grammar....

Quote:
this service might also be used in desktop and laptops allowing a persons entire suite of software and profile settings to follow them no matter what computer they log onto.
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post #27 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

Yeah? And with residential bandwidth not exactly the fastest in this country how long, exactly, would it take you to upload that 20GB? A couple of weeks? And don't forget the data caps that a lot of providers are fixing to impose, like at&t on May 2.

So yes, those well off enough to have an OC3 into their home this will be great. For the rest of us not so much.

Data caps are on the order of 250GB/month. 20GB shouldn't seriously cut into that unless you stream a lot of video (in which case the 20GB would probably the the least of your worries).
post #28 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post

Maybe I am in the dark here... But I can care less about this proposed service.

Enough music resides on my iDevices at all times for my listening pleasure. Why should consumers care about this product?

I agree 100%. Why rely on Wi-Fi access or cell phone data coverage to play back music? What happens when I'm driving and going in and out of coverage areas? What about data caps?

I don't see any benefits to streaming my content all the time.

What I want from Apple is the ability to re-download any file I bought from them at no additional charge. Music, Movies, and Videos. Just like I can with apps.
post #29 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by yensid98 View Post

I agree 100%. Why rely on Wi-Fi access or cell phone data coverage to play back music? What happens when I'm driving and going in and out of coverage areas? What about data caps?

I don't see any benefits to streaming my content all the time.

What I want from Apple is the ability to re-download any file I bought from them at no additional charge. Music, Movies, and Videos. Just like I can with apps.

I think for a lot of people, it will save considerable flash memory which is good for everyone but flash makers.
post #30 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJinTX View Post

This is a very good question. I think my library is about 50/50, so I am in a similar boat. Unfortunately my guess is that it will only work with purchased content. The way I envision it, is that we won't actually upload anything to the servers really. Apple will just do a scan of our libraries, and see what all we have purchased. We will then have access to stream this from Apple, like an unlimited rental model. But only for music they know we purchased.

Again, this is just my guess.

Just your guess, but a very good one. It's got the makings of Apple written all over it. They don't want to be allowing cloud storage of "illegally obtained" songs, do they?
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post #31 of 68
Apple has arrived late to provide music cloud service and the cost is way too expensive. You can register for the cloud service on my website and receive 5 GB of music space for free. If you purchase one music album then you will receive 20 GB of space to stream your music anytime you want. Just look for cloud player on the far right of my website.
post #32 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssls6 View Post

I think for a lot of people, it will save considerable flash memory which is good for everyone but flash makers.

But that's what I'm getting at. Why save on flash memory to deal with all the issues of streaming all your content? Flash memory allows a user to use any data they want at any time for no additional fee and without the need to remember where they bought the data. It just works.

With streaming everything you may be able to save money on a device with less flash memory, but you may have to pay a higher internet fee in addition to knowing which files you bought from Apple and which you didn't, are you going to be a stable internet connectivity site, how close are you to reaching your internet data limit, etc. It just seems like a lot of headache for the benefit of maybe saving a maximum of $100 on a device. That's of course assuming the streaming service is free.

I doubt many will use a service like this. If Apple is really going this route they've got to have a better solution than what we've thought up.
post #33 of 68
This locker idea sounds great as far as convenience but noone will pay for this and more importantly, it sounds to me. Like accessing your own set of music files is a waste of resources.. Let's say you upload your copy of "let it be" by the beetles . Then 1,000,000 other people upload their copy too.. It's wasted space for Apple, wasted time for the user, and not eco friendly.. There are only so many songs and it seems wasteful to me. Why not have a system that knows if you own the song and of you do, you just automatically have access to it from the central streaming library. Is it a matter of licensing?
post #34 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssls6 View Post

I think for a lot of people, it will save considerable flash memory which is good for everyone but flash makers.

What about bandwidth? Will I be able to stream content from their servers to my iPhone over the carriers network indefinitely? What will be the bitrate, same as iTS at 256Kbps or something lower for streaming?

At 256kbps I get 2.57GB per 24 hours of streaming.
256,000 bits x 60 seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours = 22,118,400,000 bits

22,118,400,000 bits ÷ 8 (byte conversion) = 2,764,800,000 bytes or 2.57 gigabytes
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post #35 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by addabox View Post

From the labels' perspective, there would be no way to tell if a ripped CD file was from a purchased copy or a borrowed copy or a repurchased used copy or a shared file. Streaming rights to such tracks would amount to the labels declaring that once a CD copy of music is sold those tracks become available for streaming to as many people who have access to the ripped files, by whatever mechanism.

Needless to say, pretty much the definition of the industry's nightmare, so I doubt they would ever grant any such right (at least without charging onerous fees).

But that's what is going on already. Fact is users can already play what they have, regardless of where it came from. What Apple could offer the labels is means of tracking plays, which would be data I'm sure the labels would kill to have. They would literally kill to have it.
post #36 of 68
There may be room for another box...

Say, an inexpensive iTunes Media Server...

With say an A4 or A5 CPU, limited RAM and lots of (and expandable) storage.

This would act as an intermediary between MobileMe and your local iTunes storage.

Media purchased from Apple would be available to be streamed/downloaded from MM at no charge (only a pointer/token is stored on Apple's servers).

Other media could be streamed from your local iTunes Media Server to you iDevices.


At some point in time Apple and the Record Companies will find a way (amnesty period?) to allow you to include non-Apple/Record Company media to be handled as purchased items with a token on MobileMe.

One way this could be handled is by a fee service that scans your local media and legitimizes it.

There will always be some media that cannot be tokenized on MobileMe -- and this could be uploaded and made available for streaming for a fee.

In each case, the local iTunes Media Server could be used for staging (uploading/downloading holiday media at Christmas) and backup.

I currently use a Mac Mini with 2 2-TeraByte External drives as a media server -- I am running out of room, and looking for a better solution.
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post #37 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

iTunes has been adopted and I have to remember what files I have added to the app and which I access from either QuickTime or Movist(VLC) because iTunes wont upload it. Its not the most convenient thing but I still use iTunes for video storage, rentals and purchases, and Apple has seemingly disallowed other containers/codecs for legal reasons.

congratulations! You are exceptional.
post #38 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post

I don't normally correct others grammar....

no no, I actually meant suit as in suit of armor. In the cloud your software and profile will become likened to a "suit of armor" worn or carried on your person at all times no matter what computer you login to.
post #39 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by dish View Post

no no, I actually meant suit as in suit of armor. In the cloud your software and profile will become likened to a "suit of armor" worn or carried on your person at all times no matter what computer you login to.

OK... Sorry!
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post #40 of 68
Quote:
Originally Posted by alienzed View Post

But that's what is going on already. Fact is users can already play what they have, regardless of where it came from. What Apple could offer the labels is means of tracking plays, which would be data I'm sure the labels would kill to have. They would literally kill to have it.

Sure, but the labels aren't too fond of the current situation, and that horse is long out of the barn. Making it so those same files can stream to some undermined number of people on any device they happen to be using takes the current situation and cranks it up to 11. So I don't think they'll be too keen on new licensing terms that allow for that, without additional payments.

I'm not saying it's right or makes good business sense, but I'd never bet against the labels demanding the most restrictive scheme possible. If they had their way streaming your own files in your own house would be considered a "public performance" and they'd extract additional fees for that.
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