At about 10AM PT today, Steve Jobs will take the stage at Apple's WWDC2011 to announce the company's latest products. (We'll be tweeting developments live @hypebot and follow with a midday story.) High on the list is iCloud, an online digital music storage locker and player, that on the surface seems like a robust version of what Google and Amazon launched last month. But Apple's iCloud launch is far more significant than that; and could have a major impact on how music is monetized and consumed.
4 Reasons Today's Apple iCloud Launch Is Much More Important Than You Think:
- The first licenced locker: Since the iCloud is the first digital locker to be launched with licenses from the major record labels and publishers, we'll get to see what rightsholders willing to allow and just how "game changing" music lockers can be.
- The future of owning music vs. renting: Cloud music lockers are about the availability of songs you've bought wherever you are. If they take off, they encourage ownership. That doesn't mean that streaming music is dead and there will be hybrids - Spotify's player, for example, already can combine songs on your hard drive with songs in their stream - but a successful iCloud also means that owning music isn't dead either.
- Making money from old music, again: For the first time since the vinyl to CD replacement cycle, record companies will be collecting money for music that's already been purchased. That money kept labels financially strong throughout the 1980's and 1990's. It's unlikely that revenues from cloud lockers will be that substantial, but even if just 10% of Apple users eventually adopt iCloud, at the reported 58% label and 12% publisher share of $25, that's some serious cash annually for a long time. The major labels have already collected a reported $100 - $150 million in advances from Apple for the iCloud.
- Cementing Apple's Dominance: The labels have again given Apple first mover status, but more importantly, because the iCloud only works on iTunes and Apple created devices, Steve Jobs has found yet another way to keep customers within his closed eco-system of software, devices and stores.
We'll be tweeting developments live @hypebot and follow with a midday story.