Apple is getting ready to complete deals with most major music labels to bring music to the cloud to rival recent offerings by Google and Amazon. The company had already signed a deal with Warner Music Group last month, according to CNET, and now is getting ready to ink its deal with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment; the company had just finished a licensing deal with EMI Music. The announcement for a cloud-based iTunes could happen as early as WWDC.
What sets an iTunes cloud offering apart from rivals is that it will be officially sanctioned and recognized by the music labels, which so far has been opposed to Amazon’s Cloud Player and Cloud Drive announcements. Since Amazon’s debut, Google also debuted its own Google Music, in beta, which will allow users to stream and store their own content on the cloud, like the Amazon service. Additionally, Amazon also offers users the ability to purchase music as well.
Cloud-based music may help users with a massive collection of tunes store their music and access it anywhere from any device as long as they have an Internet connection–either through WiFi or through mobile broadband technologies like 3G or 4G. This also helps to mitigate the need to have large amounts of storage on devices for music. With smartphones capable of HD video recording, video downloads on the go, and also high resolution cameras for image capture, storage will continue to be a challenge for advanced and power user to balance what they carry and have available with them. Moving some of that content to the cloud will help users manage their storage better.
Cloud-based music storage will likely rival with music subscription and streaming services.
Though Apple may be late to the streaming game, it may enjoy more freedom as it is working with music partners to get official approval. This means that Apple can potentially offer more features and provide for a better user experience. According to CNET, “One example is that instead of requiring users to spend hours uploading their songs to the company’s servers, as Google and Amazon do, Apple could just scan a user’s hard drives to see what songs they own and then provide them almost-instant streaming access to master recordings. The process is sometimes referred to as “scan and match.”" The process was first enabled by Lala, which Apple had acquired.
As the deal is now nearing its final stages, a potential announcement could happen by this June’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), slated to occur in San Francisco, California. Apple is expected to use WWDC this year to not launch a new iPhone model–that will get pushed to the fall–but to showcase the merge between its iOS and Mac OS X platforms.
As Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple are making aggressive pushes into the cloud, we’ll most likely hear about other cloud-based services beyond music in the future from all four companies.