Apple’s new free iCloud and $24.99 a year iTunes Match, "marries the two disparate ideas of consumer convenience and the monetization of pirated music, providing what could be the 'missing links' between consumers, artists, labels, music publishers and the emerging digital music industry," according to Tunecore CEO Jeff Price. "With its launch, the odometer on the music industry is about to reset itself (again)..And the results, I believe, will be stunning."
Apple's iCloud differs significantly fom Amazon and Google music storage lockers into which users have to upload all their songs. But the most radical part of iTunes Match, according to Price, is that now rightsholders can "make money off of music not bought the first time around". Announced today, iTunes Match puts all music from a subscriber into an iCloud account, making it available to stream or re-download. This includes music that was:
- Bought on iTunes
- Ripped from a CD
- Downloaded via p2p
- Ripped from a friend
- Downloaded free and legally from a band
- Grabbed from an mp3 blog
- Bought on AmazonMP3 or any other download store
- Etc, etc, etc....
All re-downloads, points out Price, will be downloadable in the AAC format, meaning that "they will only play on an Apple device, driving more dependence of Apple’s products."
"And finally, and perhaps more importantly," concludes Price, "just as the original Napster trained people to download music and listen to it on their computers, Apple, due to its vast hardware proliferation (iPhones in particular) is in a position to shift consumer behavior yet again – this time from downloading music to listening to it via streams."