Apple's iCloud music service to scan, mirror iTunes libraries

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
Sources allege that the much-rumored streaming music service from Apple will scan users' iTunes libraries and mirror them in the cloud, but it reportedly won't be free.



Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that, according to people briefed on talks between Apple and the music labels, Apple has obtained new licenses for its so-called iCloud service that will allow the company to mirror individual iTunes music collections on its servers. Additionally, Apple will replace low-quality music files stored on users' hard drives with higher-quality versions on its servers.



However, the convenience of increased access to one's music will come at a price, according to the report. While Apple's upcoming music service "may be a huge shift, it won't be free," wrote authors Brad Stone and Andy Fixmer. Label executives have reportedly said they are negotiating aggressively for profits in the cloud.



Though specific details on pricing remain unclear, Stone and Fixmer speculate that Apple could bundle streaming music services into its revamp of MobileMe, which currently costs $99 a year. Fees for the service could also help labels "claw out some money" from pirated music, the authors noted. A separate report suggested last month that the rumored service could be free at first, but would eventually require a fee.



Sources close to the negotiations between Apple and the record companies corroborated earlier reports that Apple had reached agreements with three of the four major labels and is close to a deal with Universal Music.



Music executives also alleged that Google had offered $100 million up front to the four major music labels for licenses, but negotiations stalled over the labels' concerns that Google doesn't do enough to protect copyright holders on Google.com and YouTube. Without the licensing agreements needed to sell music, the search giant eventually launched its Music Beta service as just a 'digital locker.'



Rival Amazon launched its Cloud Drive online music streaming service in March without renegotiated licenses. Music industry executives, who were notified of Amazon's plans just days before the launch, have questioned the legality of a feature that automatically adds Amazon.com digital music purchases to customers' Cloud Drive accounts.







Apple is expected to unveil its iCloud service in June at the annual Worldwide Developer's Conference in San Francisco, though the company reportedly has yet to finalize negotiations for new licenses with music publishers. Apple appears to have completed work on the service, with negotiations with rights holders standing as the final hurdle.



AppleInsider exclusively reported last month that the iCloud name is being used by Apple internally on several different projects and will extend beyond just streaming music by syncing and storing other personal data such as bookmarks, email, contacts and iCal events. Apple reportedly purchased the iCloud.com domain last month from a Sweden-based desktop-as-a-service company for $4.5 million.







The company's plans for iCloud are also believed to center around its massive data center in Maiden, N.C. Apple executives have said that the $1 billion, 500,000 square-foot facility will support the company's iTunes and MobileMe services.



An Apple patent application discovered by AppleInsider last week hints at one possible solution for streaming music. According to the filing, Apple is investigating a method of storing portions of songs on devices such as the iPhone in order to allow immediate playback, while the device initiates a download from a remote location.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 63
    wbrasingtonwbrasington Posts: 381member
    This is the end of Rim.
  • Reply 2 of 63
    blippioblippio Posts: 7member
    This is the end of Tiny Tim.
  • Reply 3 of 63
    stelligentstelligent Posts: 2,680member
    This is the end of li'l Kim
  • Reply 4 of 63
    pmzpmz Posts: 3,433member
    How I do I know Apple/Music Labels won't sue me for having music I ripped myself? I can't prove that I bought the CD's, even though I did.



    And what will Apple do if I have Apple Lossless? Stream me 256 kbps? No thanks.



    Wake me up when its useful.
  • Reply 5 of 63
    mbarriaultmbarriault Posts: 237member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post


    How I do I know Apple/Music Labels won't sue me for having music I ripped myself? I can't prove that I bought the CD's, even though I did.



    And what will Apple do if I have Apple Lossless? Stream me 256 kbps? No thanks.



    Wake me up when its useful.



    Sleep well.



    I'd be more interested in this, if not for the bandwidth raping telecoms in Canada. Streaming is too expensive here to be of real use.
  • Reply 6 of 63
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...Apple will scan users' iTunes libraries and mirror them in the cloud...



    What if I have music in my library for which Apple doesn't have an iTunes license (Pro tip: I do.)? If they still plan to mirror it, there was no sense in Apple allegedly getting these new deals with the music companies for streaming.



    Which means this service won't be mirroring ANYTHING that iTunes doesn't already offer.
  • Reply 7 of 63
    applesauce007applesauce007 Posts: 1,539member
    Streaming music is nice. However I am more interested in the Siri implementation for voice searching using AI.



    Time will tell
  • Reply 8 of 63
    irelandireland Posts: 17,411member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by stelligent View Post


    This is the end of li'l Kim



    This is not Reddit, comment tree.
  • Reply 9 of 63
    christophbchristophb Posts: 1,422member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post


    How I do I know Apple/Music Labels won't sue me for having music I ripped myself? I can't prove that I bought the CD's, even though I did.



    And what will Apple do if I have Apple Lossless? Stream me 256 kbps? No thanks.



    Wake me up when its useful.



    I don't think we are the target market. Designed in California for Gen-MP3.
  • Reply 10 of 63
    firefly7475firefly7475 Posts: 1,502member
    I thought they were going to use the deals with the music labels for an iTunes Zune Pass





    I suppose having access without needing to upload first is still ok though. I think Siegler wrote about this around a month ago. Pretty good call from him if it turns out to be true.



    I'll keep on dreaming I suppose

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Firefly7475 View Post




    Here is how I think it should work...
    • iDevices are sync'd over-the-air

    • Songs purchased via iTunes are "backed up" to the cloud

    • iTunes "Home Sharing" is extended to the Internet (the "private cloud")

    • iPhone/iPod does intelligent sync and song caching

    • If you pay for a "premium" Mobile Me (or "iCloud") subscription you get some extra features
      1. Tracks purchased outside of iTunes are also sync'd to the cloud

      2. You get stream/sync access to every song on iTunes

      3. iTunes DJ/Genius works across all songs on iTunes, not just my purchases

      4. I get to select 10 tracks each month to permanently own

      5. iTunes gets a basic web version


    Finally, regardless of the location of the song (local, cached, private cloud or public cloud) they should all be presented in the one combined user interface.


    I'd also love to see an iHub/iCenter/iHome/iCentral/iMesh to facilitate the creation of a private cloud as well... but I'm just dreaming now



  • Reply 11 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post


    How I do I know Apple/Music Labels won't sue me for having music I ripped myself? I can't prove that I bought the CD's, even though I did.



    And what will Apple do if I have Apple Lossless? Stream me 256 kbps? No thanks.



    Wake me up when its useful.



    Don't have nightmares.

    You want companies to stream lossless format? How much?

    CDs you borrow and ripped?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post


    What if I have music in my library for which Apple doesn't have an iTunes license (Pro tip: I do.)? If they still plan to mirror it, there was no sense in Apple allegedly getting these new deals with the music companies for streaming.



    Which means this service won't be mirroring ANYTHING that iTunes doesn't already offer.





    It must be the licence to cover what is in the iTS. If it scan and found no match, no cloud version for that song. Or maybe the deal to cover what labels and publishers have sold in the general market (actual CD) so regardless, it will be made available and the licence will cover everything. They will get paid from the subs. in term of how many songs/album matched so in the end, they will get part what have lost in piracy as an incentive, Apple get business from hardware and future purchases from the iTS (like genius recommendation) and users get to listen to their songs anywhere.
  • Reply 12 of 63
    rhyderhyde Posts: 294member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post


    How I do I know Apple/Music Labels won't sue me for having music I ripped myself? I can't prove that I bought the CD's, even though I did.



    And what will Apple do if I have Apple Lossless? Stream me 256 kbps? No thanks.



    Wake me up when its useful.



    They won't care. They're making money off you anyway. You did read the part about how the labels want to make profits off the cloud, right?
  • Reply 13 of 63
    bregaladbregalad Posts: 816member
    Apple can't even find album art for 90% of my collection and provides unbelievably bad incorrect art for a not insignificant portion of the last 10%. Likelihood of them mirroring my library in the cloud? Damned close to zero.

    Oh and guess what, I have mainstream music. People with Indie music will find absolutely no value in the service.



    Add the harsh bandwidth caps seen in many countries of the world and the future doesn't look bright enough to require shades.
  • Reply 14 of 63
    joelsaltjoelsalt Posts: 827member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mbarriault View Post


    Sleep well.



    I'd be more interested in this, if not for the bandwidth raping telecoms in Canada. Streaming is too expensive here to be of real use.



    Not in good ole' Saskatchewan - no bandwidth charges (at least in foreseeable future)
  • Reply 15 of 63
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ireland View Post


    this is not reddit, comment tree.



    ... ಠ_ಠ
  • Reply 16 of 63
    futuristicfuturistic Posts: 599member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Splash-reverse View Post


    It must be the licence to cover what is in the iTS. If it scan and found no match, no cloud version for that song. Or maybe the deal to cover what labels and publishers have sold in the general market (actual CD) so regardless, it will be made available and the licence will cover everything. They will get paid from the subs. in term of how many songs/album matched so in the end, they will get part what have lost in piracy as an incentive, Apple get business from hardware and future purchases from the iTS (like genius recommendation) and users get to listen to their songs anywhere.



    I think you're right. It would be easy for the cloud, when scanning your library, to acknowledge only music/media purchased through the iTunes Store. Anything else, it would just ignore.



    I like the cloud idea as rumored?right now, my iPod is maxed out. Having the cloud stream my music would be nice for when I travel, and then don't have to carry my whole library with me.
  • Reply 17 of 63
    futuristicfuturistic Posts: 599member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Bregalad View Post


    Apple can't even find album art for 90% of my collection and provides unbelievably bad incorrect art for a not insignificant portion of the last 10%. Likelihood of them mirroring my library in the cloud? Damned close to zero.

    Oh and guess what, I have mainstream music. People with Indie music will find absolutely no value in the service.



    That's odd. In my case, the percentages are reversed. I have mostly indie music, and only a small portion of my collection has the "iTunes default" album cover. Another solution is to scan the CD sleeves and add the artwork manually. I did that for my missing cover art.



    You can complain or you can find solutions.
  • Reply 18 of 63
    habermashabermas Posts: 37member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    An Apple patent application discovered by AppleInsider last week hints at one possible solution for streaming music. According to the filing, Apple is investigating a method of storing portions of songs on devices such as the iPhone in order to allow immediate playback, while the device initiates a download from a remote location.



    PATENT application? Give me a f***ing break. This is called local caching and has been used for decades, Allen P. Haughay and Benjamin Rottler.. There's nothing particularly innovative about applying the caching to the beginning of songs only. It's a basic trick that any clown could think of and it certainly does not deserve the lifetime protection that a patent grant would offer.



    Also I don't see what's so special or innovative about the iCloud. I've been doing what it purports to offer for more than a year having placed my iTunes library in Dropbox on a NAS. It comes with the added benefit of not having to pay taxes to the record companies for listening to my music.
  • Reply 19 of 63
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    This is what I?ve been expecting for a year or so now. I can?t imagine it any other way. What I do have trouble wrapping my head around some of the info in the article.



    I can?t imagine Apple replacing the music on the user?s physical drive to a higher bit rate simply because they signed up for this service. Would they really take a 64kbps audio of Lou Bega?s Mambo No. 5 that downloaded from Kazaa a decade ago and change it to 256kbps on in my local iTunes folder? I don?t think so.



    Unless it is a 128kbps song they bought on the iTS previously and never paid the 30¢ to upgrade to the 256kbps DRM-free version I don?t see that happening. However, I do see that even if you still have the 128kbps song that it will likely still stream to you in 256kbps from their servers because they will only have the 256kbps audio files.





    PS: Disclaimer: I have no 64kbps audio files on my system and have never bought or downloaded in any way a song by Lou Bega.





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by pmz View Post


    How I do I know Apple/Music Labels won't sue me for having music I ripped myself? I can't prove that I bought the CD's, even though I did.



    And what will Apple do if I have Apple Lossless? Stream me 256 kbps? No thanks.



    Wake me up when its useful.



    1) Have you never used iTunes Genius? That works by cataloging the music you have and sending it to Apple, regardless of where you obtained them. Also, note that ripping CD to your PC?s HDD and even allowing a way to rip them back to standard music CD format is something Apple would have had to get the rights from the labels so I don?t think they will be suing everyone that has ripped a CD to iTunes.



    2) If you have lossless it?s foolish to expect streaming over a cellular network at 1Mbps. Look at your file sizes per song and tell me you still think that?s a reasonable expectation. Also, don?t make th leap that Apple will replace low-bitrate songs with 256Kbps audio that they will replace your lossless audio. The beauty for use lossless users with this service is that we can keep our primary songs on our iDevices as lossless and anything else we can just stream at 256kbps. if such a rare need arises. Being lossless you?re already taking up 4x the space of iTS audio files so that scenario is very likely.



    3) If you have no interest in what Apple is doing and have already concluded that you won?t like it then why post at all? Just to complain about that? Seriously?!
  • Reply 20 of 63
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by habermas View Post


    Also I don't see what's so special or innovative about the iCloud. I've been doing what it purports to offer for more than a year having placed my iTunes library in Dropbox on a NAS. It comes with the added benefit of not having to pay taxes to the record companies for listening to my music.



    Your setup sounds great. How does that work when you?re using your phone away from home? How does the integrate with your iPod app?
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