Digital Music

It Could Be Long Wait For iTunes In The Cloud As Labels Argue Multiple Use & Demand More $’s

image from www.audioadvice.com When a fan buys a legal DRM-free MP3, they can listen to it anywhere, right?  We'll maybe, say the major labels, as long as they don't store it in or play it from an online music locker.

News last week that Lala.com was shutting down at the end of the month, led to increased speculation that an iTunes.com cloud based music service would launch soon. Last week, my sources admitted that Apple has made the rounds to discuss options, but none believed that iTunes would launch a new service anytime soon. Now All Things Digital's Peter Kafka is reporting that the reason for the delay is that the major labels believe that they should be paid a premium because any locker based service constitutes multiple use.

It's unlikely, but Apple could ignore the latest anti-consumer argument by the labels and launch without permission. Then the courts would decide the issue resulting in either a victory for music fans or clear proof that U.S. laws need a major update. Apple's alternative is more likely some kind of music subscription service which thus far failed to find an acceptable balance of both consumer pricing and income for rights holders.

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5 Comments

  1. This is the kind of thing that makes me just *headdesk* about the music industry. I can’t even believe we’re still HAVING this discussion! Streaming should have been resolved 3 years ago already.
    I do have some sympathy for labels/artists about the present pricing. IT IS TOO LOW. No question about it. However, as a consumer, if I legally purchase a DRM-free .mp3, I’m extremely wary of setting any legal precedent whereby I *cannot* use it in any manner in which I see fit – so long as I don’t distribute it.
    Realistically, streaming prices are going to have to go up, and I think even consumers see this, but I still think a subscription model is going to end up being the best way to go. The only reason they haven’t been successful so far is because nobody has had an awesome business model.

  2. Isn’t the discussion a bit late? Look at what Spotify are bringing out in the latest update. A lot of hype is being made about the social features (ie integration with Facebook and Twitter) but they’ve also added the ability to import your own music files. Cloud-based music services are already here.

  3. Liz — how can you say prices are too low and will go up, when in fact, not enough people are buying? Streaming on demand services have simply not caught on in the States precisely because the price was too high. Now Rhapsody has lowered its price to $10/month for use on multi platforms, and I think it might have a chance.
    As to buying music, we the consumers were price gouged for years with a typical price of $19 for a CD. With Amazon’s excellent prices for mp3 albums, I am buying like never before. But if the price is raised, I will spend less. Keep prices low. That is the key.

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