Yesterday at CES, RealNetworks demoed Unifi, a new music and media cloud service which its says can serve as a complete library of all the media a users owns, accessible from any internet-connected device. Real says Unifi will be available early this year. But how did Real beat Google and Apple cloud music services to market? Apparently by ignoring the record labels.
More & A Video Demo:
For months, Google and Apple have been negotiating with labels and other rightsholders to offer music cloud storage and playback for purchased tracks. But some rightsholders have argued that playback from the cloud constitutes an additional use that they should be compensated for. Others believe that the cloud services will become storage lockers for library's of illegally downloaded tracks as well.
Several other small companies have ignored the label's warnings and launched cloud media services. That led at least one, Mp3Tunes, into the courtroom and a costly and yet unresolved battle with EMI. Now the more visible RealNetworks joins the frey with Unifi and seems likely to become the latest label legal target.
The official Unifi demo: