Apple is usually the trendsetter, but it’s now jumping on the cloud music bandwagon. According to CNET News, Apple is working out deals with Major music labels and music publishers, who will each get paid when their work is used, at different rates for an internet, or “cloud-based” music subscription service. Most of us use itunes, but it has it’s flaws when it comes to ease of use for transferring music, also buying music from the itunes store can get pricey and takes up a lot of space on peoples’ computers.
The newest and most user-friendly music service is the cloud, essentially having one’s entire music library on the web through a service that can be streamed to any a computer, phone, gaming system and mp3 player. Microsoft already does this with the Zune, basically with the Zune subscription service the user pays a monthly or yearly fee, to build an unlimited music library and the selection is pretty vast. Unless someone is looking for something really obscure most music is available to add to your library. A user can add as much music as they want to their account through their Zune subscription, but to download and own the song is usually an extra fee, such as 99¢ a song. Since Microsoft created the Xbox you also can access your music there, your computer or the Zune Mp3 player.
There are pros and cons to cloud music, one downfall is if a subscriber decides to end his or her service all music is gone. This is a significant flaw since it takes years to build and organize a good music library. Another downfall of cloud subscription services is that the user doesn’t technically own the music unless they pay extra on top of the monthly fee, another way for the labels and publishers to make money out of the deal. Cloud subscribers can’t burn their library or portions of their library to a disk, although some might argue music on disc has become obsolete anyway. With a cloud subscription service users are paying for the convenience, and ability to add an unlimited amount of songs to a music library without taking up extra space on their own hard drive.
Will Apple make cloud music better than Zune has thus far? No one knows yet, but I will be interested to see how Apple puts it’s spin on a the cloud music concept and how people react to it. For more information on the cloud, check out Zune’s website.