As Amazon and Google launch "cloud" based music sharing services rumors
swirl on what Apple will announce soon at WWDC and who else might join the party
My Google/Android (and music) loving friend Aaron and I have been having heated email discussions about what is here today
, in beta
, and what seems imminent so I thought that I'd try and capture what I think a "cloud based" media service should
to provide in order to be successful. As with all technology, your milage may vary, but I do try and take the user focused view, even if its not ideal for my own use.
- You should be able to put ALL of your music into the service, not just the music you purchase, or have purchased from that service. This includes music that you have ripped yourself from CD's you have purchased. Yes RIAA will have to trust us on this.
- You should not have to upload your music (I have, today 25,775 songs, or 175.32 G of Music, though I realize thats above average). People that do not know what 175 gig means also do not know why that would take two months to send somewhere through their crappy ISP.
- Your music should be available anywhere you need it, even without a data connection. This means storing select music to each device as needed but especially to mobile devices.
- You should not have to maintain playlists, podcast positions, ratings, or anything related to your library in different ways in different places... those things should synchronize.
Most rumors suggest that Apple, unlike Google and Amazon, are working with media companies to secure special licensing for their iCloud service. The reason for this *could* be related to #1 and #2. I believe that those two points are huge for the widespread success of this kind of service. I do not think people will fully use any service if they only have some part of their collection in that service. This requires #1 and I think of all these items that is the most important. Less important, but still important is #2. I do not think people will fully adopt a service that requires them to go through a complicated and lengthy upload.
So if Apple is using licensing to allow #1 it will have a cost associated with it and we'll pay that cost. Essentially what I'd guess is that Apple might say, charge a per song or per album charge to get music not purchased through iTunes into the iCloud. Licensing could also allow #2 in that if you have it on your computer, and purchased the 'cloud license', Apple would just put it in the cloud, not expect you to upload it*.
I'd actually pay for special licensing, despite having paid for the music already - IF the entire service was well integrated and did a good job with all the above points.
We'll have to see what Apple announces at WWDC. It could be right on the money, but the critical question, especially for people with large music collections like me, is how much will it cost?**
* making users upload the files is essentially how Amazon and Google claim they do not have to get special licensing, because they are just storing YOUR files for you
** If it were say $0.10 a song then it would cost me $2,577. No thanks.