iCloud Just Hot Air?

iCloud music service, iTunes in the Cloud, will let users do more with their iTunes digital music than they have been able to do before. Why not streaming? Here's the backstory.

What's the Latest Development?

iCloud music service, iTunes in the Cloud, will let users do more with their iTunes digital music than ever before—synching and accessing it across devices, uploading all their music (not just tracks bought from iTunes) quickly through a digital matching service, and making it all work wirelessly anywhere. But one thing that users will not be able to do—yet—is to stream that iTunes music. It appears that the primary aim is storage: music will be stored locally rather than delivered from a remote location.

What's the Big Idea?

This means Apple won't be competing directly against the likes of Rhapsody, Rdio, Thumbplay and Spotify. But it could also spell bad news for these same companies: many of the streaming companies have so far failed to attain a critical mass of subscribers. "Part of the backstory, as told by bloggers citing sources close to negotiations, was that Apple had just about secured deals with all four major record labels to launch a streaming service. That no streaming service materialized today could have meant those streaming deals didn’t get secured after all. Or that Apple never intended for them to."

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