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Apple and Indie Labels Only A Matter of Time for iTunes In The Cloud

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By: Spacelab Research Staff
June 20, 2011

After getting slammed for not including indie labels in their preview of iTunes in the Cloud a couple of weeks ago as part of their full iCloud service, it looks like indie labels might eventually be part of the deal, according to Evolver.FM. Chase Hoffberger recently spoke to Merlin head Charles Calda.

“Apple is the most experienced player in the digital music space and has long understood the value of independents to the success of iTunes. We have absolutely no reason to believe either that Apple (unlike other services) has not materially recognised the integral value of independents to their new service, or does not plan to pay them fairly and equitably,” he said in a recent conversation about iCloud licensing.

If we jump in the way back machine to when the iTunes music store launched in 2003, Apple got slammed for having a skinny offering of songs, that heavily favored the major labels. As time went on, more independent labels got on board. Although the cynics cried that the only reason Apple signed indie labels was because of user backlash, what actually happened was that it took time to work out deals with a myriad of labels, and of course the big labels were the first to be licensed. They do own over 80% of all copyrighted music, after all.

So now iTunes in the Cloud can actually look beyond the big four major labels and start to think about adding others. This makes sense, actually, how could they actually launch a service and expect people to take part if it would have gaping holes of support for people's music collections?

“Most labels in the world — preexisting of Merlin — have direct and existing deals with Apple” and Merlin does not “get to see other people’s deals, and those deals are always under confidentiality, as any business deal would be,” Calda went to say to Evolver.FM. That makes it likely that new deals could happen on individual level, rather than Merlin negotiating a deal for their groups en masse.

iCloud stores everything from your Apple devices (music photos, apps, calendars, documents) and makes them available to all of them with an effortless sync. Add a song to your iTunes library, and you can get to it from your iPhone, iPad or computer. No copying, just available everywhere. It comes with 5GB of free storage. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the news that they've made iTunes In the Cloud available to iTunes peeps with Windows.

This will heavily contend with the Google Music and Amazon's Cloud Drive Music Player offerings. There were rumors of it being the kind of streaming music service offered by Pandora Radio or MOG, but it looks Apple has stuck with a service that is cenetered around your iTunes library instead.

The news that Apple was working on a service called "iCloud" to let users do many of the same things that they can now do with MobileMe (bookmarks, iCal, email, etc) surfaced at the end of April, with the theory that it would be a cloud-based storage service, with the potential to include the long-anticipated Apple music service. iCloud is part of the ios5 version of Apple's operating system. Apple bought the iCloud.com domain for a cool $4.5 million from the Swedish company Xcerion. The iCloud.com domain name was being used by Linkoping for a cloud-based data storage service.

Check out more about steaming music sites in the Spacelab Streaming Music Guide.

Tags: Apple, Digital Music News
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