June 3, 2011
Update on Apple’s iCloud Music service
To almost anyone who uses iTunes, purchasing music has always been the name of the game. For a smaller faction of users though, subscription music has always been the way to go. From Zune Pass to Rhapsody, Rdio to Spotify, its been pretty well proven that people enjoy having unlimited access to whatever music they want, without having to make the consideration of whether or not they want to buy another full CD, or even spend .99 cents on a single. Very recently, with the popularity Android has gained in the marketplace, Google introduced Google Music. Now, it appears that Apple is ready to show us what they’ve been working on. Rumored to be called iCloud, it appears Apple’s service may do more than initially thought. Read on past the break for all the dirty details!
While Google Music and Amazon’s MP3 Cloud Player allow you to stream your music from anywhere, using any device with an internet connection, they still have one weak point: you still have to download all the music you want to hear prior to hearing it. This means a few things. First, it means that while you’re on the go, buying a song and listening to it becomes that much more of a hassle. Additionally, it means that you have to actually purchase (or for many people, illegally download) all the music you want to hear. Many don’t like this (relatively) old school thinking, and would rather pay a flat rate (around $10 per month in most cases) to be able to hear all the music they like, with no downloading and no restrictions.
It’s now being widely reported that Apple has struck deals with all the major record labels for a sort of middle of the road agreement. Rumor has it that users of iCloud will pay some flat annual fee (around $25) that would allow them to upload what is essentially a list of everything they have bought from iTunes into Apple’s cloud, then stream high fidelity versions of those files whenever and wherever they are, similar in concept to Google Music (Although Google Music is free.) The one good thing about a plan like this would be the cost being so low for high quality audio files. The bad, obviously, is that this doesn’t seem to be an “all you can eat” type of plan, meaning you’re still stuck owning your music and managing it all yourself. While some enjoy this type of collection, hopefully we will be able to have the option to pay more and stream unlimited music, as the popularity of the subscription based model does seem to be growing.
Which do you prefer? Would you rather download your music and stream it? Or never own any and be able to listen to whatever you want, whenever you want, whether you own it or not? How much is reasonable to pay for these types of services? Hit us up in the comments! And be sure to check back during Apple’s WWDC (their conference for developers) on June 6th for more details as they become available!