There's been so much chatter about Apple iCloud
that you'd think the streaming music service had already been announced and the deals inked
. But it's still just a rumor until an Apple executive takes the stage and unleashes the Amazon Cloud Player
and Google Music
competitor in a spate of superlatives. That hasn't stopped Businessweek
from stepping up with a good summary of all that is "known" thus far, while giving us some insight into the particulars of how the service will work and the motivations to make it happen. One revelation, sourced from three people in the know, claims that Apple will scan customers' iTunes libraries (hello, LaLa
) and quickly mirror the contents on Apple's own servers -- no massive DSL-choking upload
required. And Apple will do you the solid of "replacing" any low bitrate tracks with the "high-quality" versions it stores in its fully licensed
music locker for streaming to your connected devices.
Of course, this value-add won't come free and will certainly require a subscription fee. The cost to the consumer, though, is still very much unclear as is the service's integration with Apple's $99 per year MobileMe sham. And you know those rumors
about MobileMe being offered as a free service
? We wouldn't be surprised if it stays at $99 with iCloud being announced as a "free" feature update; aka, an $8.25 per month music subscription that also provides web access to your synced bookmarks, contacts, email, and calendar. Regardless, it's this subscription model that has the major labels so enthusiastic as it will finally allow them to extort fees for all that pirated audio you may have stumbled upon since Napster was loosed on an unprepared music industry a decade ago. All signs point to WWDC for this to get official but we're sure to hear more -- much more -- before the event kicks off on June 6th.