Originally Posted by Porchland
Agreed. I do not see Apple announcing yet another online backup service that is no different than SugarSync or Dropbox and marketing it as a place for you to keep a backup of your music tracks -- that you have to upload yourself.
I see either:
1. A subscription-based music service that will allow you streaming access to the full iTunes catalog (if all the labels are on board at launch), allow you to make playlists, genius mixes, etc. -- but everything is streaming, i.e., you're not actually downloading AACs of anything; or
2. "Streaming" access to all of your paid downloads that will actually be over-the-air syncing to all of your devices that play music, but it's not actually streaming. If you download Radiohead's "Lotus Flower" on your computer iTunes account and add it to your Current Hits playlist, your iPhone and iPad will automatically download the track OTA and add it to the Current Hits playlist on those devices. If you move a song up to Track 1 on the Current Hits playlist on your iPad, your other devices will sync accordingly. It's basically the same approach as iBooks matching up your current page number of a book you are reading on multiple devices.
No. 1 is a brand new service that would require streaming licensing from the labels. No. 2 is basically an extension of current updating and syncing that would require a change to the current licensing agreement with labels to allow for multiple downloads of the same track without paying again.
I'm actually not sure which of these I would rather have.
The Problem (at least potentially) with #2 is that record companies are stupid. Apple might be able to work out a deal where NEW music could take advantage of this, but previously purchased music (not to mention stuff ripped from CD's/bought from other stores) would be wholly locked out.
Remember when iTunes went DRM free? I had hundreds of dollars in music wrapped up in iTunes that I paid .99/song or 9.99/album for. When it went DRM free, Apple gave me the option of getting DRM free versions of those songs, but I would have to pay .30/song to do so. This was largely because Record companies saw it as "Downloading" a new copy even though I had already LEGALLY purchased the music.
I see that as the reason why Amazon/Google haven't come out with better solutions yet. It's not because they don't see a point to it (they clearly do.. Google demoed buying music in Android over a year ago) but because Record companies don't get it. They're demanding one, or more of the following.
1- Ensure that All music is legally purchased through the service. (previously/alternatively purchased content need not apply)
2-Make the service streaming only (so personal music need not apply, or you make it like dropbox)
3-Require a one time fee to transfer existing (itunes only) purchases to be streaming capable.
4-Require that customers pay a Monthly fee on TOP of the purchase fee for the ability to have their own music mesh seamlessly with the streaming model.
I don't think Google's Music program is perfect. I don't think they think that either. But it was most likely the best they could work out without perpetuating the archaic mindset that record companies operate under. I'm sure Apple will come up with a better solution since they have the marketshare to make companies listen. I'm just hoping they play some serious hardball, so we don't have another "Repurchase the music you already own" fiasco like the DRM free switch was.