RUMOR: Apple signing label deals for cloud-based music locker service

“Apple is planning a cloud-based music locker service, which will let users stream their music, over the Web, to different devices,” Peter Kafka reports for AllThingsD.

“Which may sound a lot like what Amazon rolled out last month,” Kafka reports. “From the music industry’s perspective, however, there’s a big difference: Amazon started its service without getting approval from the big music labels. But Apple is actively seeking licenses for its service, and will pay the labels for the privilege.”

Kafka reports, “And sources tell me that Apple has already procured deals from at least two of the big four labels (Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony and EMI) within the last two months. One source tells me Apple content boss Eddy Cue will be in New York tomorrow to try to finalize remaining deals… The deals [Apple are] signing will allow it to store a single master copy of a song on its servers, and share that with multiple users.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Manny S.” for the heads up.]


  1. I keep hearing this but I don’t see the value, for Apple or its users. Why do I want to store my music on Apple’s servers so I can access it on any device when I can easily transfer it to all my devices now, including all the devices I carry with me wherever I go? Those devices hold massive amounts of music and storage is getting cheaper all the time. It’s not often that I need to transfer my music to someone else’s device. And how will Apple make any money from this? Will someone please explain why this is such a great idea.

    1. No matter how cheap storage is, it’s likely not as cheap as streaming, especially as people’s libraries grow larger and larger in proportion to their consumption rate. Thus, from a global economic perspective, it becomes vastly cheaper and more efficient to have media collections stored in the cloud in just a couple of locations (for backup / caching) versus having millions of copies of millions of files stored in billions of separate devices. Much cheaper to assign and track streaming rights, and keep all media in just a few huge libraries.

      Personally, I would pay to the tune of $hundreds/year for the right locker service. I switched to an 11″ Air as my only “computer” (besides iPhone and iPad). I have about 400GB of collected audio and video, and it doesn’t fit on any one device. Of course I can keep it on an external HD, but managing which bits of the library are loaded onto which devices is a huge pain, as is carrying around the separate HD (which only plugs into the Air, not the iOS devices). Some here have advocated everyone setting up their own personal streaming server, eg a desktop Mac of some sort which is left on 24/7 running special streaming server software. Can you imagine the waste of energy/ resources/ collective time setting all that up, to have a half a billion people all doing that versus streaming only what they need from a few consolidated cloud lockers?

      1. Haven’t you heard about Playlists? Anyone using playlists and, moreover, intelligent, auto updatable playlists has no necessity to take his/her whole 2 terabytes audio collection with him/her at all times to all places. Or what? Will you listen to all your music collection at the same occasion? The day has just 24 hours.

        1. Of course I use smart playlists to sync recent or frequently listened tunes. Last I checked, though, even the smartest playlist can’t anticipate everything I might want to listen to for the next week…

  2. It also seems to me useless. Which all devices? An iPod? An iPhone? An iPad? My MacBook? My brother’s windows pc? They all have my music already with less hassle than transferring, erasing, transferring again and the frustrating slow speed and erratic wifi spots services, because this is a service for the on the go users, isn’t it? Not every wifi spot is snappy. I don’t get it.

  3. And other point: I absolute refuse to give more money to the greedy music labels for the rights to using my already legally paid music. Perhaps I won’t pay them directly but Apple will, and who do you think Apple will squeeze indirectly to guarantee those double payments to labels? Us! By means of MobileMe membership fee or price increment in music downloads or whatever Apple chooses.

    1. Personally, the service will be useless unless it accommodates (without extra charge) not only the music I’ve paid for, but the 80% of my collection I have copied from friends. That’s how Lala worked; it scanned your collection without regard to provenance or DRM, and gave you rights to stream anything you already had a copy of. Frankly, nobody likes to talk about it, but even in the US, I am sure a huge proportion of digital music anyone ever listens to is technically pirated. Unless any new cloud service allows the same kind of amnesty for those already-stolen files as Lala or iPod/iTunes itself, it will be a total flop for most users.

      1. Nearly all of my music files are legally purchased, and I have almost 60 GB’s worth of music. Either from iTunes or Amazon or ripped from my purchased CD’s. I’m sure I have a few files obtained from friends or kids, but the vast majority I purchased myself.

        1. Exactly. And you are probably one of the most law abiding ones out there. And these cloud services have no way to tell the files legally ripped from CDs (which I and many others also have dozens of GB of) from files copied from somebody else, or ripped from somebody else’s CD. So, even if you are law-abiding, the service will be useless to you unless it also recognizes and allows streaming of all non-purchased (properly tagged) tracks, wherever they came from…

          1. Right now it is possible to create a music library in “The Cloud”, in iDisk, and tell iTunes to turn around to play music from that library (option key before starting iTunes) and stream it without problems. So, what’s the big deal? It is needed just one night to transfer my collection to iDisk and done! Tested on my iPhone.

  4. ‘“Which may sound a lot like what Amazon rolled out last month,” Kafka reports.’

    No. It sounds a lot like what Amazon WISH they had rolled out last month. Amazon FAILed.

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