Yesterday, Reuters reported that Apple “has completed work” on the highly anticipated cloud-based music service that will allow users to store music online, and access it anywhere using an iOS device or a computer.
However, Reuters also highlighted that Apple hadn’t secure any deals with music record labels yet. But, Wall Street Journal’s Peter Kafka reports that Apple has indeed spoken to record labels and the company “is actively seeking licenses for its service, and will pay the labels for the privilege.”
But wait a minute, isn’t this the same service that Amazon launched a few weeks ago? It is a cloud music service, but the approach seems to be a bit different. Amazon rushed their cloud based service offering in an effort to beat Apple and Google to the market, but in the process left out support for iOS devices, which is a huge chunk of the current mobile population and one that will grow without a doubt throughout 2011.
In addition, Amazon launched their service without getting formal approvals from large music record labels. As Peter Kafka confirmed, Apple has been working with the music labels to seek licenses for its cloud service. Mr. Kafka also went on to say that “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.” Wait, it doesn’t end there. Eddy Cue, who runs iTunes and the App Store, is planning to meet with the remaining record labels today to close deals.
Much has been said about how Apple’s Media Locker service would look like. Many rumors have indicated that you will be able to leverage Apple’s cloud to store your files in a personal locker including music, photos, video, and eventually allow iOS 5 users to synchronize their devices with the cloud.
I could argue that Amazon’s service does the same thing. But here’s the catch. As Mr. Kafka referred to in his article, if Apple licenses the content provided via its cloud service, then Apple could create “a more robust service with better user interfaces, sound quality, and other features”. Why? I think the record labels will give Apple access to key features and other perks that could make its cloud service more attractive.
After all, it appears that Apple will allow us to upload songs from our hard drives and stream previously purchased iTunes songs directly from the cloud. Will Apple charge us for this service? Earlier rumors indicated that Apple’s media locker service would cost us around $20 per year. Stay tuned!