Apple iCloud Streams Music After All

iTunes streams music directly from iCloud, despite a firm denial from Apple. So why the confusion? Watch a video explaining it here.

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Apple's iCloud service will allow users to stream music 'over-the-air', despite a denial from the company.

In June we reported on the iCloud announcement, where many observers expected Apple to announce some kind of streaming service to compete with the likes of Spotify.

Instead, former CEO Steve Jobs explained how the new Apple service would 'push' media to any of your Apple devices. For example, if you bought an album on your iPhone, it would push to your Mac or iPad. Or, you could delete music from one device to save space, and choose to download it again later.

But this week developers who were given access to the iCloud beta trial realised you didn't need to specifically download a track to an iOS device to play it. Instead, it seems you can tap the song and it would stream almost instantly - much like a regular streaming service, as demonstrated in this video:

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Apple was quick to respond to claims that iCloud offered streaming with a firm denial, saying "any music you want to access from your cloud-based 'locker' will still need to be stored on your iPad, or iPhone, or whatever device you're using to listen to the song."

The denial seems limp, considering that the basic functionality is essentially the same as a streaming service. Their argument is that you are still 'downloading' the track from them in order the play it back, except it doesn't permanently save itself to your device.

Why are Apple avoiding the 'streaming' word? Potentially, they would be liable to pay publishing rights for every stream made, just as other services or a radio station would. It could be that they want to avoid this kind of cost by defining their service in a different way, but it is unclear whether this is the case.

The streaming vs downloading debate is discussed here:

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For all intents and purposes, the functionality is that of a personal streaming service of your own iTunes library from wherever you want. The only condition is the $25 per year to unlock the service - cheaper than a $5 or $10 per month subscription to Spotify, but limited to your own collection instead of the huge catalog offered by other services.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    That's what I don't understand. The difference is that with things like Spotify and Pandora, you're listening to music that you don't own. Even if you're a paying customer, you're essentially just renting the music. But with the iCloud, you can only 'download'/stream tracks that you own (that were purchased through iTunes, I'm assuming). So regardless of what term they use to describe that action, you can only listen to music that you've already paid for. There would be no licensing fees to pay, since they're technically only hosting your data for you. Seems like an irrational fear, if that's their reasoning for the way they're talking about it.
    Well, the fact that I have to buy _every_ song I want to listen to is a no deal for me. The thing with Spotify is that if a buddy links me to a song, I can check out the entire album or the entire back catalogue of the band and that just one of the things that is keeping me pay my Premium membership.
    I don't want to sound like a jackass, but why pay for anything like this when there are sites like groveshark where can stream music for free?