Apple iCloud Streams Music After All

artist: Apple date: 08/31/2011 category: industry news

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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:

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: 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.

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