The Next Step for iTunes: Apple's 'Insurance' Plan
With reports that Apple's Data Center in North Carolina is set to go live around the middle of this year, many have speculated the exact use for the massive site. One likely use is for the evolution of MobileMe,
the other may be to extend users' iTunes libraries to the cloud, allowing users access to their music from anywhere.
This is easier said than done. iTunes is a direct-download service that focuses on user's purchasing their content and then owning it. When Apple acquired music streaming service LaLa in late 2009, many thought the next logical step was to allow users to pay for streaming. However, this would require Apple to renegotiate their deals with the many music labels that currently sell their music for download in iTunes. There's been reports that even allowing Apple to have its users upload music to its servers and play back their purchased music would require a re-negotiation.
According to the Financial Times, a "person with knowledge of Apple's plans said that company did not want to undermine the market it dominates." Apparently, Apple has positioned a new service, which may be unveiled at Apple's event March 2nd. From this same source, Apple's plan is not a shake-up of the market it's cornered, but rather an "insurance" plan to make sure iTunes continues to dominate the music download market.
This seems like a win-win for just about everyone (except maybe Spotify). We'll most likely have to wait until next week for more details, but here's hoping we'll be able to access our entire music libraries from the cloud sooner than later.