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iCloud record label deals may cost Apple $150 million

post #1 of 36
Thread Starter 
In order to get the major record labels onboard with its forthcoming iCloud service, Apple could fork over as much as $150 million in "advanced payments."

The cost of securing deals with the labels is more than $100 million, and as high as $150 million, three separate sources reportedly told The New York Post. Apple is said to have agreed to pay the four major record labels between $25 million and $50 million each.

The money was described as "an incentive to get on board, depending on how many tracks consumers are storing." The report also reaffirmed earlier claims that iCloud will initially be free to people who bought their music from iTunes, but that the company is "considering" a $25-per-year charge in the future.

"The music companies will divide the fee with Apple, with the tech firm taking a 30 percent cut, 12 percent going to music publishers, and the rest to the labels to divide with their artists," the report said.

The final piece of Apple's music streaming puzzle fell in place on Thursday, when it was revealed that Apple had reached a licensing deal with Universal Music Group for iCloud. Universal was the last of the four major record labels to get on board with Apple's service.

Apple revealed earlier this week that it will unveil the iCloud service on Monday during the kick-off keynote for its annual Worldwide Developers Conference. Chief Executive Steve Jobs will unveil iCloud, along with iOS 5 and a presentation of Mac OS X Lion.



AppleInsider exclusively reported on Wednesday that while the music streaming portion of iCloud is expected to carry a fee, other components of the service, including syncing of bookmarks, contacts, and calendar events, are expected to be free to users of Mac OS X Lion. Apple may also sell Lion with a low price point to encourage Mac users to upgrade to the latest operating system.

With WWDC set to kick off on Monday, Apple is hard at work preparing the Moscone Center in San Francisco, Calif., for the event. On Thursday, the company began to erect banners at the center that show a new iOS-style icon for the upcoming iCloud service.
post #2 of 36
$150M? That's nothing. Apple makes that much in a couple minutes. They already made $150M after I finished typing this comment.
post #3 of 36
150 million is nothing considering the potential
post #4 of 36
$150 million? for a company with $60billion+ sat in the bank I'd bet Steve probably loses that amount down the back of the sofa on an almost daily basis!
post #5 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

$150M? That's nothing. Apple makes that much in a couple minutes. They already made $150M after I finished typing this comment.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ijoe View Post

150 million is nothing considering the potential

This might help put it in perspective. Between September 9, 2009 and February 24, 2010 Apple announced milestones of 8.6 billion and 10 billion for music sales, respectively. That's 1.4 billion songs in 168 days, or 8.3 million per day. If Apples only holds onto 30% the labels get $5,775,000 per day, or $173,250,000 per month, or over a half-billion per quarter.

(I see others are focusing on how little of a drop in the bucket this is to Apple, whilst my calculations are how it's substantial to the labels.)

Edit: Oops, I did my calsulations based on 99¢ pet song, not the now standard $1.29. At that price it's $7,494,900 per day for 70% or 20 days to recoup $150,000,000, assuming they get 70%.
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post #6 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

$150M? That's nothing. Apple makes that much in a couple minutes. They already made $150M after I finished typing this comment.

According to my calculations, it does take them 54 hours to generate $150 million in profit
post #7 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Groovy123 View Post

According to my calculations, it does take them 54 hours to generate $150 million in profit

Your calculations are correct for Q2-2011, but you didn't show your work so I can't give you full credit on this assignment.
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post #8 of 36
Ironically the same amount of money that Microsoft fronted Apple in early '97. At that point, it was (and still is) chump change to Microsoft but for a company in a death spiral with less than $4 billion socked away, that kind of money was significant working capital for Apple.

My how times have changed.
post #9 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Your calculations are correct for Q2-2011, but you didn't show your work so I can't give you full credit on this assignment.

No work needs to be shown, these calculations that are given upon you shall be praised and treated as the only and indisputable truth
post #10 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

$150M? That's nothing. Apple makes that much in a couple minutes. They already made $150M after I finished typing this comment.

My thoughts exactly
But Soli proved us wrong!
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post #11 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sevenfeet View Post

Ironically the same amount of money that Microsoft fronted Apple in early '97. At that point, it was (and still is) chump change to Microsoft but for a company in a death spiral with less than $4 billion socked away, that kind of money was significant working capital for Apple.

My how times have changed.

Just for those that believe the urban legend side of this...

http://www.zdnet.com/blog/apple/stop...ved-apple/7036
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post #12 of 36
Clearly Apple thinks this is important, but I still don't get it. Apple often releases products that don't fit me or my life, but I still see how they are useful to others. This I just don't get. And people here have talked about it as a great idea in the past, so I am hoping someone can help me out...

If they start charging the rumored cash for this, even if it is a small amount, what exactly am I getting for it? The ability to stream my own music to myself? I already have my music. Where and when will I use this? In the car where I don't have an Internet connection to stream it? Oh wait I have my phone to stream it! My iPhone! Which already has my music on it....

Is this service aimed only at people with more music than they have space on their iPods? How many people will this really be a good deal for?

Generally, the more I think about Apples upcoming stuff, the more brilliant and useful it seems, even if it is aimed at others more than myself insee a compelling case to be made. But unless there is a whole lot more to this, I am not impressed so far. Anyone help make a case to me for why this is a great thing?
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post #13 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

$150M? That's nothing. Apple makes that much in a couple minutes. They already made $150M after I finished typing this comment.

Seriously. For an annual fee of $25, Apple would generate $150M a year for every 6M users who sign up for the service. That would be an extremely low adoption rate even of high-volume iTunes content buyers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post

If they start charging the rumored cash for this, even if it is a small amount, what exactly am I getting for it? The ability to stream my own music to myself? I already have my music. Where and when will I use this? In the car where I don't have an Internet connection to stream it? Oh wait I have my phone to stream it! My iPhone! Which already has my music on it....

I'm still not convinced that the ability to stream your iTunes purchases is worth $25 a year if most of the other cloud features are free, so I think Apple will have a few surprises that come with that $25.

The big sell to me would be never having to sync my iPhone or iPad back to iTunes on my Mac, but that strikes me more as an evolutionary progression of iOS than something Apple would expect me to pay extra to be able to do.
post #14 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

Meanwhile, the B&N nook is selling 150% more books than Apple's iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch combined, despite selling far fewer devices. There's clearly a need to improve in this area on Apple's part. Yet... nothing.

That's probably true of Kindle too, but isn't that because Nook and Kindle are pure-play devices, i.e., people are getting them specifically to buy a lot of ebooks?
post #15 of 36
Sounds like the artists are at the bottom of the totem pole once again.

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post #16 of 36
"iCloud record label deals may cost Apple $150 million"

They're gonna want it back...
/
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post #17 of 36
People who think that $150 million is nothing probably will never have even $1 million. Apple is one of the most penny pinching companies out there, which is part of why they have so many pennies.

$150 million is probably an overpayment, UNLESS it's part of a larger strategy that isn't quite visible yet, which I'm guessing it is.

My guess as to what that strategy is --- sell a "cheap" iPhone with very low capacity at a very low subsidized price, but then make money off of a monthly iCloud subscription fee. That iCloud subscription would be necessary for the phone to work at all, and it's where all of a person's files would be kept, including music. If a strategy like this were to allow Apple to dramatically increase the number of iPhones that get sold while maintaining high profit margins, then $150 million would be well worth the price.

On the other hand, if this is just a way for existing customers to move some of their music to the cloud then I think it's a waste of money. Streaming music I already own over an expensive, bandwidth-limited 3g connection and paying an extra $25 a year for the privilege seems totally retarded to me. Anyone who is jazzed about that can't do math.
post #18 of 36
First, the ebook thing:
I wouldn't complain if Apple sold more ebooks, but I doubt they care. They are winning that battle too, as both the kindle and the nook have readers on the iPad. I know at least 4 people who bought iPads to replace early generation readers knowing they can use them the same way. I suspect Apple is ok with selling their entire ecosystem in the form of an iPad at the cost of sharing some small chunk of the money spent on content.

The music streaming:
I am trying to be careful not to bring the other MobileMe stuff into this, and maybe that is a mistake. Maybe this is just one more small service to make MobileMe worth it to others. Myself, I use it already. They don't need to add this, though I hope a lot more is coming, including a price change.

But the fact remains, I don't see any value from this one little part of the service at all. Either I am missing something, or Apple, who normally do a great job of figuring what people want before the people themselves, just paid 150 million to be able to offer something of no value. I am betting they are right and I am wrong, but I still want to know how.

Edit: wow that there was a bunch-o-typos.

Also, blastdoor, that is a pretty good case. That might be what I have been missing. If AT&T adds a family data plan that change would make my kids happy, as they would both be getting one of those described phones at launch from dear old dad...
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post #19 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

My thoughts exactly
But Soli proved us wrong!

Nah, Groovy123 provided a factual basis. My figures are from the label's PoV.


Quote:
Originally Posted by shen View Post

Clearly Apple thinks this is important, but I still don't get it. Apple often releases products that don't fit me or my life, but I still see how they are useful to others. This I just don't get. And people here have talked about it as a great idea in the past, so I am hoping someone can help me out...

If they start charging the rumored cash for this, even if it is a small amount, what exactly am I getting for it? The ability to stream my own music to myself? I already have my music. Where and when will I use this? In the car where I don't have an Internet connection to stream it? Oh wait I have my phone to stream it! My iPhone! Which already has my music on it....

Is this service aimed only at people with more music than they have space on their iPods? How many people will this really be a good deal for?

Generally, the more I think about Apples upcoming stuff, the more brilliant and useful it seems, even if it is aimed at others more than myself insee a compelling case to be made. But unless there is a whole lot more to this, I am not impressed so far. Anyone help make a case to me for why this is a great thing?

We keep hearing about these deals with the labels as if it's the focus of iCloud. I don't think it is. I think it's the loose lips outside Cupertino that are making seem that way. Even if we ignore all other aspects of automatic, peace-of-mind redundancy that digital downloads and syncing between these devices, I think you and others do get it, you just don't realize you get in the way it keep being presented.

I see these deals as just a rewriting of a contract that previously didn't include this provision. Even if it's something you won't use ever or often it beehives Apple to get the content owners approval first, unlike their competitors did with a much simpler "locker" option.

Besides always being able to re-download any lost content I've bought on iTunes Store the way I can with the App Store I hope this new deal allows for sharing of a song much in the same MS did with the Zune.

I suspect your online music will be almost instantly available online because it'l use the same data your Genius playlist and recommendation data that you've been sending to Apple for a couple years. They're server will simply match that with the music you've bought and give you a resource link to that item, much like Time Machine and Dropbox's file system works.


Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

Meanwhile, the B&N nook is selling 150% more books than Apple's iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch combined, despite selling far fewer devices. There's clearly a need to improve in this area on Apple's part. Yet... nothing.

You're comparing digital book sales to a HW device. That's even more foolish than comparing a free OS to a HW sale.

I bet Apple sells more iBookstore books than iPads despite it being a separate app that needs to be downloaded and installed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Porchland View Post

I'm still not convinced that the ability to stream your iTunes purchases is worth $25 a year if most of the other cloud features are free, so I think Apple will have a few surprises that come with that $25.

The big sell to me would be never having to sync my iPhone or iPad back to iTunes on my Mac, but that strikes me more as an evolutionary progression of iOS than something Apple would expect me to pay extra to be able to do.

I can't imagine that it would $25/year just for music streaming. Jobs has long since stated that people want to ultimately own music so I can't imagine this as anything but an option for your owned music.

You can already sync a great many aspects of your iDevices to MobileMe. All my most important items that I'm likely to change while using the device are synced.

Next week I hope they 1) show iMac/iPhone/iPad Universal apps that syncs settings between devices OTA.
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post #20 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

This might help put it in perspective. Between September 9, 2009 and February 24, 2010 Apple announced milestones of 8.6 billion and 10 billion for music sales, respectively. That's 1.4 billion songs in 168 days, or 8.3 million per day. If Apples only holds onto 30% the labels get $5,775,000 per day, or $173,250,000 per month, or over a half-billion per quarter.

(I see others are focusing on how little of a drop in the bucket this is to Apple, whilst my calculations are how it's substantial to the labels.)

Edit: Oops, I did my calsulations based on 99¢ pet song, not the now standard $1.29.

At 8.3 million songs per day, that's a bit over 3 billion songs a year. And while I realize the time periods don't match exactly, the RIAA reported only 1.9 billion equivalent song downloads for the calendar year 2009 (1.138 billion song downloads + 76.4 million album downloads which they multiply by 10 to get a song equivalent). So the numbers don't seem to sync up - someone's numbers are off by at least a third (also since Apple doesn't have 100% of the business.)
post #21 of 36
If it really was partially based on number of uploaded tracks.

Google is offering 20,000 tracks and wanted to pay the labels 100,000,000 USD. Apple, my bet, will offer 4,000-5,000 tracks and it is costing 150,000,000 USD.

When Google was saying the labels were unable to see the future, they really meant the labels wanted 600,000,000 USD and Google was thinking, we would actually have to charge for that and have a customer relationship with our products.
post #22 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

At 8.3 million songs per day, that's a bit over 3 billion songs a year. And while I realize the time periods don't match exactly, the RIAA reported only 1.9 billion equivalent song downloads for the calendar year 2009 (1.138 billion song downloads + 76.4 million album downloads which they multiply by 10 to get a song equivalent). So the numbers don't seem to sync up - someone's numbers are off by at least a third (also since Apple doesn't have 100% of the business.)

Where is the RIAA link? I used Wikipedia as my starting point to get specific dates and quantities.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITunes_...and_milestones From there there are plenty of citations about milestones, some right from Apple's own PR. Looks like they did nearly 4 billion for calendar year 2009.

• January, 2009 —

6 Billion
• February, 2010 — 10 billion
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post #23 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wurm5150 View Post

$150M? That's nothing. Apple makes that much in a couple minutes. They already made $150M after I finished typing this comment.

From what my sources told me that is $150M flat paid to get them to sign up. And then they get a cut of the signups. Which is why any rumor of a free trial that doesn't say 'restricted to what you bought on iTunes' is bogus. The labels wouldn't agree to any other terms on that one.
post #24 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven N. View Post

If it really was partially based on number of uploaded tracks.

Google is offering 20,000 tracks and wanted to pay the labels 100,000,000 USD. Apple, my bet, will offer 4,000-5,000 tracks and it is costing 150,000,000 USD.

When Google was saying the labels were unable to see the future, they really meant the labels wanted 600,000,000 USD and Google was thinking, we would actually have to charge for that and have a customer relationship with our products.

Theres going to a limit to how many tracks you can have?
What the hell is the point of streaming then?
5,000 * 3Mb per a track is only 15 gigs. So only if you have a low end iPod/iPhone/iPad will it matter. Also who has 5,000 iTunes purchased songs?

I just don't see the music locker being worth it. Now if it was a music subscription (all you can eat), then I'm in.
post #25 of 36
Steve could find $150 million lost in his couch!

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post #26 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

That's at least a reasonable idea.

But if all you took out of the phone was the storage, would it really lower the cost that much? Perhaps such a phone would have to be closer to a iPod, i.e. weak processor, no touch screen. Get rid of all that stuff and I could see the price dropping.

It's not really that getting rid of the storage reduces the cost, it's that getting rid of the storage forces you to use the cloud service. The cost isn't actually lowered much at all. It's just that instead of being paid up front, it's paid over time through iCloud fees. Basically I'm suggesting that Apple would be getting in on the carrier model of subsidizing a phone but then recouping that subsidy through monthly fees, but for apple it would be iCloud fees.

Note that what I'm describing probably wouldn't really be very appealing in the US. This would be more of a developing world thing, where carriers often won't subsidize a phone and require that the full price be paid up front.

I also doubt that what I'm describing will happen immediately. We might not hear about it at WWDC. The iCloud that is announced next week might be a new step along the road to what I'm describing.

Or my guess is totally wrong and Apple is starting to get a little sloppy with their cash, which would be a shame (but not impossible).
post #27 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

My guess as to what that strategy is --- sell a "cheap" iPhone with very low capacity at a very low subsidized price, but then make money off of a monthly iCloud subscription fee. That iCloud subscription would be necessary for the phone to work at all, and it's where all of a person's files would be kept, including music. If a strategy like this were to allow Apple to dramatically increase the number of iPhones that get sold while maintaining high profit margins, then $150 million would be well worth the price.

Isn't that Google's exact plan for ChromeBooks? Sell 'em cheap, charge monthly subscription and lock the users in to Google's ecosystem with cloud-stored files.
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post #28 of 36
They would be "advance" payments, not "advanced."
post #29 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Where is the RIAA link? I used Wikipedia as my starting point to get specific dates and quantities.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ITunes_...and_milestones From there there are plenty of citations about milestones, some right from Apple's own PR. Looks like they did nearly 4 billion for calendar year 2009.

January, 2009

6 Billion
February, 2010 10 billion

Here's the latest RIAA stats for 2009 and 2010:
http://76.74.24.142/548C3F4C-6B6D-F7...5E2AB93610.pdf
post #30 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by zoetmb View Post

Here's the latest RIAA stats for 2009 and 2010:
http://76.74.24.142/548C3F4C-6B6D-F7...5E2AB93610.pdf

Thanks for the link. Your calculations match mine but I don't see a discrepancy. RIAA is all the music is the US, nor does it account for all the markets in which iTunes Store exists.
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post #31 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by magicj View Post

I'm in the same boat you are. This looks to me to be nothing more than determination to have a cloud product despite 6 or so years of yawns from consumers regarding their previous cloud products.

Meanwhile, the B&N nook is selling 150% more books than Apple's iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch combined, despite selling far fewer devices. There's clearly a need to improve in this area on Apple's part. Yet... nothing.

I look at it this way.. by turning your music library into a streaming service it "offloads" the music storing responsibilities of your iDevice, doing one or both of 2 things: (1) reducing the amount of memory needed per iDevice - this could have a bigger play if Apple were to release an iPhone mini or iPod Touch Nano or something, and (2) continues to shift the focus of iDevices away from their "music player" legacy and more into the App Machine or PDA category. The benefit here is that it continues to raise the brand image of Apple's products vs. the competition. I.e. an "MP3 player" will be a cheap little thing that hangs on a hook in K-Mart, packaged in a bubble wrapper a-la the Sony Walkman knockoffs of the 1980's and 1990's
post #32 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by peteo View Post

Theres going to a limit to how many tracks you can have?
What the hell is the point of streaming then?
5,000 * 3Mb per a track is only 15 gigs. So only if you have a low end iPod/iPhone/iPad will it matter. Also who has 5,000 iTunes purchased songs?

I just don't see the music locker being worth it. Now if it was a music subscription (all you can eat), then I'm in.

How much space do you think the average user has on his iPhone, or iPad after apps, and the system gobbles up its percentages? The iPod app on the iPhone is just that - an app. If any other app needed 5G to work, you would complain.

But lets digress for a moment. Apple want to win the high end and the low end. This locker part of the iCloud is, i think, mainly for the low end consumer. It means Apple can produce a 4G model iPhone next year, or an 8G iPad with low component specs. You might turn your nose up at it, however it would still have the Apple brand and it would no more harm that brand than the Apple Nano does. The high end would be better option , after al the higher end user can have his 5000 tracks on his device and play on the plane or the tube, or in the signal deficient countryside. But for the poorer user, the locker is a god send.

In China, Eastern Europe, India a $200-$300 iPhone would walk of the shelves. And I bet they may go cheaper. An iPhone in 2012 with a 2 year old processor, 4G of disk, 256 ( 128?) RAM, could sell for peanuts and play all your musicand store all your apps.

The locker will do that too, I assume. Run out of disk space for an app bought on the iPhone and it will offer you a screen to put some of your apps in the locker. All Apple need to know is if a guy already owns the app, and they have it all ready - the digital cost is zero. The time to upload is zero. So run out of space on the device and you can move apps to the locker. The only complication there is they may have to store data, with your app. Thats possibly what the NC centre is for (it seems a lot of space otherwise, as streaming can be handled by the CDN's like Akamai.)

They will also, at some point, produce a streaming radio type service. Maybe not tuesday. With fair use policy you can actually play songs for your friends. Ping may become useful again. If thye want to do spotifiy, no better company. I see it happening

Apple are really confident about this because they know they can stream music with few glitches - the 30 second clips, they know they can store credit care details, and they know they have the NC centre. Hard to see what can go wrong. Touch wood.
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post #33 of 36
And it that was tl'dr - this an amazing thing for Apple. Google must be pissed.
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post #34 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by asdasd View Post

And it that was tl'dr - this an amazing thing for Apple. Google must be pissed.

Google? Amateur hour by the guys who sole business model is selling advertising by any and all means possible
post #35 of 36
What if iCloud is not about music at all, but music is just part of it. What if it is the beginning of doing away with the PC for syncing and starting iOS devices out of the box.
For those, who are just starting, without a huge legacy of contend they may use their Apple products without ever to invest in a PC at all.
That will be a huge advantage for Apple over MS and Google.

Monday will put us out of our speculative misery and Steve will reveal all.
post #36 of 36
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charel View Post

What if iCloud is not about music at all, but music is just part of it.

I am hoping. Cloud music by itself doesn't interest me at all, and I suspect that it isn't compelling for more than one out of three people. If it's not a lot more than an entertainment service I predict a collective yawn.
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