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Apple's Cloud Music Service Approaches Again, With Smart Streaming Patent

Apple's Cloud Music Service Approaches Again, With Smart Streaming Patent

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By: Corey Tate
May 20, 2011
The Apple iTunes Music Service drum is beating again ... this time around the news / rumors that Apple will unveil an iTunes-based streaming music service at their Developers Conference set for June 6-10 in San Francisco. The current theories and rumors? The cloud music service would use segments of a song from different cloud-based locations on the Internet to more quickly download a streaming song.

This concept was originally used by Napster, but Apple's model would improve on that model and work it for an active stream, not just a download. The advantage of this is a highly efficient download process, allowing quick playback of songs.

The song segment theory came about when the news of a patent application the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had been filed by Apple under the name "Local Storage of a Portion of Streamed Media Items," which was unvovered by Apple Insider. There's suspect timing that it becomes publicly available at a precise moment before the developers conference, but with enough time to create an online buzz. And Apple does work the Internet PR machine oh so well.

Combine that with the news from CNET that Apple is in talks to finalize deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, and already had finished a deal with EMI Music. If this is true, the Apple cloud music service would blow the current Amazon and Google cloud music services out of the water. It could allow users of the iTunes store a seamless interplay between streaming their own music library and connecting to buy music from iTunes, which could then also be stored in the cloud.

It could also use the "scan and match" model, which would allow iTunes to scan the songs in your music library and match them to master copies of the songs already stored in the cloud. That way they don't store thousands and thousands of copies of the same song, which would be inefficient storage, but Apple could also gaurantee maximum sound quality for all users by making sure the sound quality was at its best.

So will we see a cloud-based streaming music service from Apple at the developers conference? It's apparent that everybody wants that. We've obviously become accustomed to waiting by now. The fact that both Google and Amazon rushed forward with their services without deals in place for the major labels shows that they might have known more than the rest of us about Apple's plans (there's no secrets that large in Silicon Valley). They might have thought it a better strategy to launch before Apple without deals that they figured would not arrive for them, rather than launch after Apple and have their service look pale in comparison. The best service never launches first.


Tags: Apple, Digital Music News

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