iTunes cloud-based music taking a back seat to streaming video?

Lala shuts down

When Apple bought Lala, everyone anticipated that iTunes.com streaming music service was on the horizon, but now CNET hears it might be on hold as Apple works on... streaming video.

But eight months after the acquisition, Apple is telling executives at the four top labels that if Apple offers any cloud-music features within the next few months, they will likely be "modest in scope" and not include the kind of functionality that Apple outlined in meetings with the labels, such as storing users' music on its servers, sources told CNET. They added that Apple still hasn't negotiated the kind of licensing deals it would need to distribute music from the cloud.

Delays launching a cloud music service might disappoint some iTunes users, but if Apple is focusing resources on a cloud-video service it could be welcomed by those who have maxed out hard drives with films and TV shows. Sources at the major film studios have said this year that Apple plans to create "digital shelves" that enable iTunes users to store movies and other media on Apple's servers.

With competition from a Google Music service on the horizon, can Apple afford to take their time rolling out the iTunes Cloud? Are they far enough ahead in media that it doesn't matter? Could they actually be waiting for Google to negotiate cloud-streaming licenses with Big Media so Apple can simply adopt them as well and add to the existing iTunes service? Time -- and perhaps this fall's annual iPod touch/iTunes event -- will tell.

[CNET]

But add to all this that one of the Lala execs is rumored to have already moved on from Apple, and Internet/iTunes lead honcho Eddy Cue reportedly took a long time to even tell the Lala team what Apple wanted to do with them, and it seems like there's a lack of urgency around One Infinite Loop.

Are you getting impatient for your streams? Does it matter to you if Apple rolls out video from the clouds before music?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, Review, The TV Show, Vector, ZEN & TECH, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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There are 15 comments. Add yours.

websyndicate says:

"can Apple afford to take their time rolling out the iTunes Cloud?"
I dont think Apple Cares about anybody else. They have more iDevices out there already. They are setting the trends.

Dennis says:

One thing I've noticed about the iPad is that Netflix has virtually no competition. I could imagine that as Apple works to update the Apple TV, they are trying to come up with a video streaming service for its iOS devices.
I don't know what Google Music is going to be, but it is true that Google had just proudly announced that it would include LaLa in its search results, whereupon Apple promptly bought LaLa. In retrospect, it may be that Apple purchased LaLa primarily to hold up Google's development in the music area.
There are millions of iPods, Touches, and iPhones out there; the iTunes Music Store's position is relatively secure at this point.

iphonemilk says:

As long as if i put one of my purchased movies on this "Digital bookshelf" i can be promised that it's going to be there FOREVER, then i'm on board. Sign me up.

mikenyc2 says:

If it a choice of which comes first, to me it is a slam dunk. Music should come first.
Yes video is nice, but I stream music ALOT more. You can't watch video while driving. Or at work.
Give me my music!

BrianTufo says:

I agree with @Mike. Music must come first. Movies is obviously nice to have but I think streaming music is much more appealing.

Dennis says:

I think music already has come first, not only because people listen to music a lot of the time, but because it uses less bandwidth. That's why there are lots of streaming music services already in existence.
Apple would benefit from a music discovery service. For instance, a LastFM-like service which streams new music free a limited number of times, so that the user can tag and purchase songs that s/he most likes. I'm not sure Apple is going to prioritize the kind of service like LaLa's, where you purchase music, store it in the cloud, and stream it to your device. It would be nice, though.

Robbie Alexander says:

I hope they do streaming music first. I need an Apple version of Grooveshark asap andam willing to pay a lot just for a service like that. Who cares about harddrive space for movies, 2TB is like 170 bucks now.

Dood says:

Streaming music and video are easy these days. Anybody that doesn't fully believe that they'd roll a BOTH video and music integrated cloud based solution is on drugs. Why do you all think it's going to be one sooner than the other?
Apple has a history of going "oh you did that first...good for you, we'll do it our way and users will buy it".

Glenn#IM says:

Sounds like "We are the last to the party, but we got it right" again. As far as hard drives, external hard drives are cheap now. Load it up with all music, and videos, cleaning out the computer.

Dave01568 says:

One word "mecanto" google it!

Dennis says:

Accordingg to Gizmodo, Apple allows the iTunes app on the iPhone to stream up to 20GB of songs stored in iDisk. Not exactly a streaming music service, but very nice. Playing music has been possible from iDisk in the past, but not using the iTunes app.
http://gizmodo.com/5604272/apple-allows-itunes-streaming-to-iphone-with-...

jasonact says:

I have to disagree with some of the comments. I would love to have streaming music, but streaming video is much higher on my wishlist. As it stands, 60-70% of the storage on my iPhone and iPad is occupied by video that I don't watch often but I want on the device for the rare occasions when I do want to watch video. If I could keep that in the cloud, it would really free up a ton of device storage, which could then be filled with more music or photos. There are enough times when I'm offline or in a weak signal area that I don't want to rely on streaming for music content, but relying on it for video content would be great. I hope this is the direction Apple takes it.

jasonact says:

@Dood
I think the point of the article was that they haven't gotten the kind of terms from record labels that they want for streaming music yet. I don't think anyone thinks it's a technology issue. It's purely a negotiations issue.

Andy says:

I would just like to have a backup in the cloud of everything I have ever purchased form apple: songs, books, apps, TV shows, and movies.
I don't wanna stream anything as much as be assured that I can always re-download, for free, what I already paid for. I wanna have that extra insurance in case my PC and external hard drives crash. That's all. And I will be a happy camper.
I would be in heaven if they also allowed me, for a fee, to upload other video and music to my "itunes cloud vault" that I have ripped myself.