Apple to beat Google to the punch at cloud-enabled music services

Apple was hard at work bringing cloud storage of music to customers using iTunes - perhaps as a music locker extension to MobileMe as rumoured late last month. At the same time, Google has its own plans to bring a similar competing service for devices running Android, and it has acquisitions to back that up.

A Toronto-based mobile music company, PushLife, was acquired by Google earlier this month. PushLife offered a way for users of iTunes and Windows Media Player to send their music libraries to Android and Blackberry devices. The second step for Google was to acquire a remote media company, Simplify Media, in May 2010. However, despite Google's manoeuvers, it appears Apple may end up beating Google in the race to bring music-in-the-cloud to the masses, according to sources familiar with both the companies' plans.

As Reuters reports, the cloud extensions to iTunes have been completed. Apple is hoping to secure deals with leading music labels in time for the service's launch. In contrast, Amazon's launch of Cloud Drive earlier this month went ahead without consulting the labels over the new service, leading to friction between them and Amazon. Amazon argues the service is simply an extension of the users' licenses to the music they purchased via Amazon. However, the labels threatened legal action over the licensing changes, and as a result Amazon has agreed to discuss a new music locker implementation with the labels.

There is no current date set for the launch of a cloud-enabled iTunes, but we can expect this to arrive in time for Apple's annual music-themed event this coming September. As for Google, current plans are to explore a subscription-based service, but no launch timeframe is imminent, as according to an industry executive, Google "keeps changing what they're asking for."

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21 Comments

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If Google would make it possible to stream music uploaded to their Google Docs service, wouldn't that essentially be a cloud music service? I've uploaded upwards of 70 GB's of music to Google Docs for safekeeping, but if I could actually stream those mp3 files on my computer and/or Android, I'd be thrilled and probably willing to pay a nominal fee. Chop, chop, Google!

Doesn't do a damn thing for me. I love iTunes, but Apple's unwillingness to release it to other mobile platforms has ****ed me off to the tenth degree. "If you don't have an iPhone, you don't have iTunes"!!! Google Maps, Google translate, Google Shopper... all on iOS!

Jmaxku said,
Doesn't do a damn thing for me. I love iTunes, but Apple's unwillingness to release it to other mobile platforms has ****ed me off to the tenth degree. "If you don't have an iPhone, you don't have iTunes"!!! Google Maps, Google translate, Google Shopper... all on iOS!

As much as I can understand your frustration, I believe iTunes Music is pretty much a break-even thing for Apple, it's main purpose is to sell iDevices, if it was available on other devices, they'd still be making virtually no money on it, but would also lose out on selling iDevices too.

As you said yourself, Amazon has beaten both of them... so /yawn

...and Google already stated they are likely to drop completely the idea of a cloud based music service. So congrats on Apple on finishing second in a 2 horse race.. lol

Canonical did this some time ago with Ubuntu One Music Store, they have apps for both iOS and Android to stream on the go, and I'd bet their extra storage fees (2GB free) will be cheaper, so I find this pretty meh tbh.

Look who's following Microsoft...... and the headlines will say Apple just launched a "revolutionary" cloud based music service when Zune Marketplace has been doing that since day 1.

PassionForGod said,
Look who's following Microsoft...... and the headlines will say Apple just launched a "revolutionary" cloud based music service when Zune Marketplace has been doing that since day 1.

As someone else has already said they're likely to be different. Zune is subscription and you don't actually own any music, iTunes clouds believed to put your purchased tracks into the club for access from all the iOS devices

DomZ said,

Zune is subscription and you don't actually own any music, iTunes clouds believed to put your purchased tracks into the club for access from all the iOS devices

That isn't true. Zune Pass may be subscription, but you get 10 songs per month to own forever. Also, you can download an unlimited amount of music to your devices or you can stream music from the Zune website.

What is special about this new Apple offering when you can stream an unlimited amount of music from the Zune website (the cloud) today?

rfirth said,
That isn't true. Zune Pass may be subscription, but you get 10 songs per month to own forever. Also, you can download an unlimited amount of music to your devices or you can stream music from the Zune website.

What is special about this new Apple offering when you can stream an unlimited amount of music from the Zune website (the cloud) today?

I have 15,000 - like yeah, that '10 songs per month' sounds like a great deal, too bad I'll be dead by the time I get to own all the music on the computer.

rfirth said,

What is special about this new Apple offering when you can stream an unlimited amount of music from the Zune website (the cloud) today?

- If you cancel your "Apple Cloud" service, you wont lose all your downloaded music.
- You can use it with stuff purchased before using the cloud (itunes purchases)
- Anything bought while using it will still be yours if you stop using it

It is different to the Zune "have as much music as long as your still paying us" cloud service.

Mr Nom Nom's said,

I have 15,000 - like yeah, that '10 songs per month' sounds like a great deal, too bad I'll be dead by the time I get to own all the music on the computer.

True, but 15,000 songs at $0.99 a song would cost $14,850 on iTunes. That's a 100 year subscription to Zune Pass where you could have an unlimited amount of music downloads. That's my point.

What is the difference between this and Microsoft's Zune Pass? I ask only because you're making a big deal about Apple beating Google.

rfirth said,
What is the difference between this and Microsoft's Zune Pass? I ask only because you're making a big deal about Apple beating Google.

One's a subscription service, one is not.

I think a better comparison would be the similarities between what Apple is doing and the Ubuntu One Music Store.

Denis W said,

One's a subscription service, one is not.

I think a better comparison would be the similarities between what Apple is doing and the Ubuntu One Music Store.

Subscription services are cheaper for customers than non-subscription services. With Microsoft Zune Pass, customers win. With Apple's iTunes cloud enabled music, Apple wins.

Google can go **** itself.

Jebadiah said,
Subscription services are cheaper for customers than non-subscription services. With Microsoft Zune Pass, customers win. With Apple's iTunes cloud enabled music, Apple wins.

Google can go **** itself.

Google > Microsoft + Apple

U MAD?

Jebadiah said,
Subscription services are cheaper for customers than non-subscription services. With Microsoft Zune Pass, customers win. With Apple's iTunes cloud enabled music, Apple wins.

Google can go **** itself.

Depends on how much new music you want or whether your internet connection has data limits. In the case of me my internet connection has a 90GB limit and I haven't bought any music in the last 6 months yet going by subscription I'd be paying for something merely to allow me to keep 'owning' what I already have. How is such a system of me paying to 'rent music' in the remotest sense 'good value for money'?

Subscriptions: Constant money stream for crappy music companies to keep pumping out ever crappier music.

Per-download payment: An actually incentive for music companies to produce decent quality music people are happy to go out of their way to purchase.