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Apple has reportedly signed licenses with two major music labels for iTunes streaming

post #1 of 33
Thread Starter 
A new report claims that Apple has succeeded in procuring deals with at least two of the four big music labels in the last two months, possibly signaling that the rumored iTunes streaming music service is imminent.

Peter Kafka of All Things Digital reported Thursday that Apple is "actively seeking licenses" for a new cloud-based music locker service and is willing to pay labels for the privilege.

According to Kafka's sources, Apple has inked deals with two of the for major labels, which include Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony and EMI within the last two months. One source claimed Apple VP Eddy Cue will be in New York on Friday in an attempt to solidify remaining deals.

"Theyve been very aggressive and thoughtful about it, Kafka reported an industry executive as saying. It feels like they want to go pretty soon.

Kafka's sources have yet to see the service for 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," Kafka wrote in his report.

The report comes on the heels of a Reuters report earlier Thursday that claimed Apple had "completed work" on a cloud-based iTunes music streaming service. Citing anonymous sources, the report said Apple is "set to launch" the service, which would store users' songs on a remote server and allow them to access them from "wherever they have an Internet connection."

However, the Reuters report claimed that Apple had yet to arrive at new licensing agreements with the labels.

Rival Amazon launched a digital music locker last month without new licensing approval. The online retailer has reportedly faced a backlash from the music industry as a result.

According to Kafka, Apple would be able to create a more "robust service" than Amazon with re-negotiated licenses. That service could include "better user interfaces, sound quality, and other features," said Kafka.

For example, Kafka has heard that Apple's new deals with the labels would allow the company to "store a single master copy of a song on its servers and share it with multiple users."

Apple's upcoming music streaming service could come in the form of an enhanced version of MobileMe. In February, The Wall Street Journal reported that Apple plans to revamp its MobileMe offerings by adding a free 'locker' service for storing photos, music and videos.

In 2009, Apple bought streaming music service Lala for $85 million, prompting speculation that iTunes streaming was in the works. However, Apple shuttered Lala last year and the rumored service has yet to materialize.

Google is also planning a similar service, but has reportedly gotten bogged down in negotiations. According to Reuters, the company has repeatedly changed its mind during talks with labels, bringing talks to a standstill.

"They keep changing what they're asking for," said a label executive. Sources claim Google had originally planned an 'iTunes-like store,' but had been begun exploring licensing for a subscription service in recent weeks.
post #2 of 33
Whats the point if Amazon and Google are just going to do it anyways without the labels permission?

Sounds like Apple is entering into agreements which are only going to handicap them in the long run.
post #3 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

According to Kafka's sources, Apple has inked deals with two of the for major labels...

That tell me the other two will be following suit.

Quote:
The report comes on the heels of a Reuters report earlier Thursday that claimed Apple had "completed work" on a cloud-based iTunes music streaming service. Citing anonymous sources, the report said Apple is "set to launch" the service, which would store users' songs on a remote server and allow them to access them from "wherever they have an Internet connection."

I hope we have a special event on this within a couple weeks. Maybe with a new version of Xcode and an iOS 5.0 demo. I see no reason why Apple cant release iOS 5.0 before the 5th generation iPhone. The stepped method is working out for the iPad releases and it could help boost sales for different quarters with a HW/SW tick/tock method.

But if iOS 5.0 doesnt come until the G5 iPhone Id think theyd launch this service sooner. Will it be a point update to iOS 4.x or just web access until they release iOS 5.0?

Quote:
According to Kafka, Apple would be able to create a more "robust service" than Amazon with re-negotiated licenses. That service could include "better user interfaces, sound quality, and other features," said Kafka.

I hope so. Amazons service looks like it put together in a weekend by some college kids for a class project. Or Google.

Quote:
For example, Kafka has heard that Apple's new deals with the labels would allow the company to "store a single master copy of a song on its servers and share it with multiple users."

I cant imagine it any other way. There is no reason for the exact same file to be stored for every user that has that file. Thats some old school, basic iDisk storage, not the modern Dropbox and Time Machine storage technology.

Quote:
Google is also planning a similar service, but has reportedly gotten bogged down in negotiations. According to Reuters, the company has repeatedly changed its mind during talks with labels, bringing talks to a standstill.

"They keep changing what they're asking for," said a label executive. Sources claim Google had originally planned an 'iTunes-like store,' but had been begun exploring licensing for a subscription service in recent weeks.

I wish Google would get some focus and try to make one thing great before moving trying to complicate it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Whats the point if Amazon and Google are just going to do it anyways without the labels permission?

Sounds like Apple is entering into agreements which are only going to handicap them in the long run.

The labels could sue and/or threaten to withdrawal their content. To me this seems like one thing Apple would want to get the labels to agree with.
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post #4 of 33
How does Apple make money from a locker service?

I can understand a pay-monthly service that allows you to listen to anything you want...
post #5 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

How does Apple make money from a locker service?

I can understand a pay-monthly service that allows you to listen to anything you want...

Maybe its only for MobileMe suscribers.

Maybe its a way to keep users tied to the iTunes ecosystem and associated devices.

PS: When did the locker or "digital locker" term get coined. Since Amazons service arrived its become very popular. I like it, but I cant find an etymology on it coinage.
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post #6 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Whats the point if Amazon and Google are just going to do it anyways without the labels permission?

Sounds like Apple is entering into agreements which are only going to handicap them in the long run.

Well, the points are:

1. Do the right thing and purchase rights from the owners of the songs (and hopefully some of the money flows back to the artists)

2. Avoid being caught up in years of litigation

3. Don't anger the labels that feed iTunes

4. Make the iEcosystem even more superior to the competition

5. Don't risk losing a lawsuit that could cost hundreds of millions, or more, in damages

Amazon and google will/are taking a tremendous risk here....
post #7 of 33
A better cloud service is cited on my homepage. The banner is on the right of the page. Apple arrived late to provide this type of music service. This service is already being provided.
post #8 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Scrip View Post

How does Apple make money from a locker service?

Because it helps them sell more iPhones
post #9 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkcooke View Post

Well, the points are:

1. Do the right thing and purchase rights from the owners of the songs (and hopefully some of the money flows back to the artists)

2. Avoid being caught up in years of litigation

3. Don't anger the labels that feed iTunes

4. Make the iEcosystem even more superior to the competition

5. Don't risk losing a lawsuit that could cost hundreds of millions, or more, in damages

Amazon and google will/are taking a tremendous risk here....

There is already legal precedent in Amazon's favor. There was a case involving DVRs and the court ruled their is no difference between local and remote storage.
post #10 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

There is already legal precedent in Amazon's favor. There was a case involving DVRs and the court ruled their is no difference between local and remote storage.

Is that the same thing as a streaming service?
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post #11 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"Theyve been very aggressive and thoughtful about it, Kafka reported an industry executive as saying. It feels like they want to go pretty soon.

Go Apple, go.. Don't wait too long.
post #12 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by samlogo View Post

A better cloud service is cited on my homepage. The banner is on the right of the page. Apple arrived late to provide this type of music service. This service is already being provided.

But is it good? If Apple's service is better, will you jump ship?
post #13 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

Because it helps them sell more iPhones

I understand that's what iTunes is there for already... to help sell devices. The difference, however, is that people pay Apple $1.29 for each track.

With streaming... people will be sucking down terabytes of bandwidth every minute.

In a sense... Apple will be paying for customers to use all that bandwidth.

That doesn't make sense in the long run... unless what Apple will be offering a $10 month all-you-can-eat subscription service or something.

Come to think of it... Amazon is giving away bandwidth too. I don't see how they do it either. Weird.
post #14 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Is that the same thing as a streaming service?

I know nothing of Amazons service, but what if it were simply an NFS mount, and the player a standard mp3 player?

Conceptually how different would that be from streaming?
post #15 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

I know nothing of Amazons service, but what if it were simply an NFS mount, and the player a standard mp3 player?

Conceptually how different would that be from streaming?

I thought the lawsuit with DVRs is that the provider has the license to stream to your local device that can receive the transmission and then push that signal out to a monitor, like a TV. The DVR was merely time shifting when that entire process occurred.

With Amazon’s service there is no such agreement to allow streaming of the music files they sell, only downloading from their server to be played on local devices. I think the DMCA allows for moving your content around for backup reasons, but I don’t recall any provisions that allows others to then stream it back to you from your storage “locker.” I guess it coms down to streaming your remotely stored content constitutes “fair use” or not.

While it’s all just data, it’s a different type of data at those levels. It’s like killing a panda and then replacing it with the same weight in skunks claiming it’s all just mammal. Ok, not my best example, but it’s late.


edit: FAIR USE Act - Section 3: DMCA Amendments - (iii) Personal network

Section (III) allows circumvention for the purpose of transmitting media over a personal network, but explicitly prevents the uploading of media “to the Internet for mass, indiscriminate redistribution."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FAIR_US...rsonal_network The wording seems to ignore a private folder on a remote server. I can’t find anything that states it specifically to the point that I’d think it’s cut and dry, though I do think Amazon will ultimately end up caving.
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post #16 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I thought the lawsuit with DVRs is that the provider has the license to stream to your local device that can receive the transmission and then push that signal out to a monitor, like a TV. The DVR was merely time shifting when that entire process occurred.

With Amazon’s service there is no such agreement to allow streaming of the music files they sell, only downloading from their server to be played on local devices. I think the DMCA allows for moving your content around for backup reasons, but I don’t recall any provisions that allows others to then stream it back to you from your storage “locker.” I guess it coms down to streaming your remotely stored content constitutes “fair use” or not.

While it’s all just data, it’s a different type of data at those levels. It’s like killing a panda and then replacing it with the same weight in skunks claiming it’s all just mammal. Ok, not my best example, but it’s late.


edit: FAIR USE Act - Section 3: DMCA Amendments - (iii) Personal network

Section (III) allows circumvention for the purpose of transmitting media over a personal network, but explicitly prevents the uploading of media “to the Internet for mass, indiscriminate redistribution."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FAIR_US...rsonal_network The wording seems to ignore a private folder on a remote server. I can’t find anything that states it specifically to the point that I’d think it’s cut and dry, though I do think Amazon will ultimately end up caving.

As I imagine it, there is no indiscriminate redistribution going on with the amazon cloud service. You upload your music, the music you paid for, into your own personal web disk space. Alternatively, it seems, you can buy a song from amazon, and have the put it in locker for you.

I think amazon got the jump on apple on this one. Apple might be negotiating licenses, but it's not clear to me that they have to if all they're doing is hosting a subscribers own content.
post #17 of 33
I don't understand why everyone is so focused on music streaming at the moment.

It seems like people are putting all their attention into a close tussle between two combatants when there is actually an entire war going on around them.

The enormous scope of the all encompassing cloud services packages coming from Apple and others over the next few years will relegate music streaming to a small tick box on a very long feature list.
post #18 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

As I imagine it, there is no indiscriminate redistribution going on with the amazon cloud service. You upload your music, the music you paid for, into your own personal web disk space. Alternatively, it seems, you can buy a song from amazon, and have the put it in locker for you.

And that sounds like Amazons argument, but thats not the content owners argument.

Quote:
I think amazon got the jump on apple on this one. Apple might be negotiating licenses, but it's not clear to me that they have to if all they're doing is hosting a subscribers own content.

Amazon and Apple are surely doing different things. Apple service is rumoured to work more like Time and Machine and Dropbox in that a single copy of a file can be linked to as many users that own that copy. It means a lot less overhead for storage as well as simply needing to read your content library to determine which files you can get access to without necessary uploading any files to the server.

As for getting the jump, I dont see in what way they have. Right now you can play a song from Dropbox on a mobile device. Right now you can access the iDisk app from an iDevice and play a song. hese and other predated Amazons service by years. There is nothing new or unique about Amazons service. Its only known because its big and free. Its like when Google started offering email. It was big and free. The only difference Amazon has over the aforementioned options is the ability to buy a song on their site and have it sent to your locker. Not exactly a killer feature.
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post #19 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

There is already legal precedent in Amazon's favor. There was a case involving DVRs and the court ruled their is no difference between local and remote storage.

Right or wrong, win or lose, they can still tie it up in limbo for years.
post #20 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by djsherly View Post

As I imagine it, there is no indiscriminate redistribution going on with the amazon cloud service. You upload your music, the music you paid for, into your own personal web disk space. Alternatively, it seems, you can buy a song from amazon, and have the put it in locker for you.

The difference may be with Apple's service there won't be any uploading. If you own the song locally, you'll be able to play it remotely from their servers.

Apple already has a patent for this I believe!? Something about a mobile device containing a playlist only to access music remotely and being able to mix and match local and remote playing. I think it was from a couple years ago?
Disclaimer: The things I say are merely my own personal opinion and may or may not be based on facts. At certain points in any discussion, sarcasm may ensue.
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post #21 of 33
There is a better and cheaper music cloud service other than Apple. I am using it and it works great. http://www.digitalundivide.com
post #22 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimlogo View Post

There is a better and cheaper music cloud service other than Apple. I am using it and it works great. http://www.digitalundivide.com

Stop trying to advertise your crap site here. We don't want to see this and we aren't going to give you any clicks. Also, stop creating new logins to try to get around the rules. You aren't fooling anyone.
post #23 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by rkcooke View Post

Well, the points are:

1. Do the right thing and purchase rights from the owners of the songs (and hopefully some of the money flows back to the artists)

2. Avoid being caught up in years of litigation

3. Don't anger the labels that feed iTunes

4. Make the iEcosystem even more superior to the competition

5. Don't risk losing a lawsuit that could cost hundreds of millions, or more, in damages

Amazon and google will/are taking a tremendous risk here....

the labels will not dare sue amazon. they will just stop selling CD's. the record companies aren't doing well financially and won't dare to sue a major retailer.
post #24 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Whats the point if Amazon and Google are just going to do it anyways without the labels permission?

Sounds like Apple is entering into agreements which are only going to handicap them in the long run.

Amazon and Google are also struggling with the labels, that is the main reason why they were stalled.
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post #25 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimlogo View Post

There is a better and cheaper music cloud service other than Apple. I am using it and it works great. http://www.digitalundivide.com

Let me tell you about Amway...
post #26 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patranus View Post

Whats the point if Amazon and Google are just going to do it anyways without the labels permission?

Doing it without their permission typically uses the existing contracts as an excuse to make it 'okay'. But then when those contracts have to be renewed, the labels don't. Or the labels go to court to get the contract voided and they pull their materials off Amazon.

Apple wants to avoid all that.

Plus remember that in a couple of cases, these record labels are owned by companies that also have video in Apple's system. Which they might want to be able to sell DRM free, or at a higher quality, or even rent by subscription. Piss off the parents and that will be harder to achieve

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

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post #27 of 33
I think most people are underestimating how big this is going to be. This is not going to be about streaming music for the reasons many have pointed out (bandwidth availability of 3g). It is going to be about storage and smart syncing.

I bet this service allows people with MobleMe (which I am betteing will be free for a year to anyhone who bought any Apple product computer or iOS device) to store all their music, video, photos, and anything else they like in the cloud. The appropriate programs then (iPhoto and iTunes) will smart sync the files to our phones, iPads, Macs and iPods the amount synced based on how much storage we allocate. This way much less storage space is needed but you still have access to all your files across all devices anywhere there is Wifi or 3g. But it wont eat up badwidth because the stuff you listen to watch or use most often will already be on your device.

Now why you might ask when storage is cheap. Flash is still expensive. So this allows Apple to keep iOS device costs down but you still have access to your entire media collection. But more importantly the future of Macs is the Macbook Air or something similar with flash storage. A 64GB ssd is plenty if you dont have to store your ENTIRE iTunes and iPhoto librarys locally.
post #28 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Doing it without their permission typically uses the existing contracts as an excuse to make it 'okay'. But then when those contracts have to be renewed, the labels don't. Or the labels go to court to get the contract voided and they pull their materials off Amazon.

Apple wants to avoid all that.

Plus remember that in a couple of cases, these record labels are owned by companies that also have video in Apple's system. Which they might want to be able to sell DRM free, or at a higher quality, or even rent by subscription. Piss off the parents and that will be harder to achieve

No record company is going to do this. That's just loosing a sale that you won't necessarily be able to get back. Amazon is going to get away with this because they can.
post #29 of 33
Imagine this:
Apple lets you play any tune in the iTunes library after first listening to a 30-second ad. Boosts iAd revenue, makes money for the labels, people get to listen to full songs for free at the expense of first listening to an ad.
post #30 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by samlogo View Post

A better cloud service is cited on my homepage. The banner is on the right of the page. Apple arrived late to provide this type of music service. This service is already being provided.

but apple will do it better. it's probably why they're 'late'. unlike their competitors, apple has probably done a lot of research. it's why they purchased the n.c. property. it's why they invested over a $1b.

will they deliver perfection the first time out? probably notno company does. however apple seems to get dinged for it. you can bet in the long run, it will probably be an awesome service.
post #31 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

There is no reason for the exact same file to be stored for every user that has that file. Thats some old school, basic iDisk storage, not the modern Dropbox and Time Machine storage technology.

It may not be as easy as it sounds. I have thousands of songs that are not even on iTunes. And even the songs I have that are on iTunes, 95% are lossless CD rips. What quality will Apple be streaming? Will it be like an internet radio station, that streams between 64kbps and 128kbps? It's very rare to get streaming content better than that.

What about songs that have slightly different metadata? Sometimes the album names are slightly different than the names Apple uses. Or if the song name is slightly changed? Apple will still have to store a boatload of user content. I've even edited songs I purchased from iTunes (like removing annoying introductions), and moved songs to another album.

I have no doubt that Apple will produce a great interface for this, and make it much better than anyone else's system. A lot of people will be very happy with it, I'm sure. I'm actually really interested to see what Apple comes up with here to make it useful.
post #32 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by elroth View Post

It may not be as easy as it sounds. I have thousands of songs that are not even on iTunes. And even the songs I have that are on iTunes, 95% are lossless CD rips. What quality will Apple be streaming? Will it be like an internet radio station, that streams between 64kbps and 128kbps? It's very rare to get streaming content better than that.

In other threads I have tackled that issue. I think the most likely answer at this point is your purchased iTunes content. Anything else is moving away from center. Its surely possible your other content will be uploaded and converted but I thought we should tackle the foundation issues before going wide.

It seems improbable that Apple will allow 1Mbps streaming. Thats just too impractical. In a previous post I detailed how much data would be used if you just happen to be streaming your lossless content from this locker for a full 24 hours non-stop. I think the number was 257GB for the day. It was a just a scenario to show the excess of lossless for WAN streaming because some will think that 1Mbps per second isnt an issue.

Quote:
What about songs that have slightly different metadata? Sometimes the album names are slightly different than the names Apple uses. Or if the song name is slightly changed? Apple will still have to store a boatload of user content.

With Dropbox and Time Machine meta data isnt an issue. Neither is changing file names. Data in files use a more intelligent metric that is beyond my ken and only upload changes to files without destroying the previous file segment. Its a good thing.

Quote:
I have no doubt that Apple will produce a great interface for this, and make it much better than anyone else's system. A lot of people will be very happy with it, I'm sure. I'm actually really interested to see what Apple comes up with here to make it useful.

I have no doubt the UI will be nice but I still wonder how useful it will be. Im hoping they debut a lot more than some streaming service. I want to see real competition to Dropbox whose only fault is they cant integrate into the OS the way Apple can.
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post #33 of 33
Quote:
Originally Posted by mjtomlin View Post

The difference may be with Apple's service there won't be any uploading. If you own the song locally, you'll be able to play it remotely from their servers.

own it locally, and it was bought from itunes. Apple never need to look at your computer if that were the case: just your purchases history from iTunes, and they wouldn't need extra storage - just the ability for mass scale distribution.

Quote:
Apple already has a patent for this I believe!? Something about a mobile device containing a playlist only to access music remotely and being able to mix and match local and remote playing. I think it was from a couple years ago?
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