Apple's much anticipated cloud-based iTunes music service, possibly dubbed iCloud, is ramping up for an imminent reveal, but will it be during next month's WWDC developer conference? Just this morning, reports seemed optimistic with Sony joining EMI and Warner Music in reaching agreeable licensing terms with Apple. It seemed like Universal Music Group would be the last piece of the puzzle, but this may not be the case.
Hot on the heels of talk that Apple had inked a cloud-music deal with EMI Music earlier this week comes word that a similar agreement has apparently now been signed with Sony Music Entertainment. According to Bloomberg's sources, Sony joins EMI and Warner Music in partnering with Apple on the new service, which will see iTunes users able to stream their music from the cloud to various devices, without first having to upload their tracks.
Speculation on Apple's iTunes Cloud service, possibly dubbed iCloud, is building up as we inch closer to next month's WWDC 2011, when the service will likely be unveiled. Both Amazon and Google have already unleashed their versions of a cloud music service, leaving Apple's version now the center of attention. And today, we have our first preview of what Apple's version might entail thanks to a patent filing.
Apple has reportedly signed a cloud-music licensing deal with EMI Music, and is "very near" to similar deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, according to the latest tattle from the record industry. According to CNET's multiple sources, EMI has joined Warner Music Group in agreeing to a cloud-based system whereby, rather than asking users to go through the time-consuming process of uploading all of their music, their local library would be scanned and any tracks they own be streamed direct from "master recordings" already online.
Given the recent launch of Google's Music Beta, it's expected that anticipation will build up now for Apple's rivaling offer. The rumored 'iCloud' service is believed to be more than just a cloud-based music service, and today's halting of MobileMe sales by Amazon further fuels this speculation.
Last week we reported that Apple was ahead of Google in launching a cloud music service, a digital locker of sorts that would allow users to store and stream their iTunes music. Apple's momentum continues, striking at least two out of four successful deals with the record companies, and spurring rumors of a new "iCloud" branding after it was rumored that the company spent $4.5 million to acquire the domain iCloud.com. Now, it is further speculated that the iCloud will be serving up more than just music.
We have been talking about a new cloud offering from Apple for a while now that would have something to do with music playback. We reported last week that the service would allow the iTunes customer to put their music on the cloud, so they can access it from anywhere. Apple might actually beat Google to market with a cloud music offering. A rumor is floating around that Apple is set to buy up a new domain name, and that domain might be the cloud music service.
I've been downloading music since I first figured out that I could minimize my AOL window in Windows 3.1 and open up a Netscape browser. My thirteen-year-old self was ravenous for the media that I could find searching on early FTP directories that shall remain nameless. MP3 blew my mind at the time. I was amazed that data could be compressed like that (a 600+MB music CD could be compressed down to as low as 50MB). That kind of stuff was a lot of fun for me, but the music itself wasn't the goal. It was as much about the hunt, the technical challenge and the WOW! factor. It took about a half-hour to download a 128kbps bit-rate MP3 of a 3-5 minute song. Now, Apple is signing a deal with Warner Music to offer streaming, cloud-based music services. They haven't said anything publicly, but both they and Google are looking to grab as much of this market as possible after Amazon released their Cloud Player last month.
Remember those rumors about Google's imminent cloud music service? Well, we're still not certain when they'll be able to work through their licensing issues and get their service off the ground, but we do have word from Reuters now that Apple will be beating them to the punch. According to their sources, Apple has completed work on their own cloud music service and is set to launch ahead of Google.
The speculation surrounding what Steve Jobs and Apple have up their sleeves is never ending. An analyst at Jefferies named Peter Misek thinks he knows what will be next for Apple and he thinks that the product will revolutionize video just as iTunes revolutionized music. Misek bases his predictions on "weeks" of channel checking with developers and content partners on Apple's plans.