This Is What To Expect From Apple’s New iCloud Music Service [Feature]


Wondering what to expect from iCloud? Here's what we think you'll see based upon iCloud's predecessor, Lala.
Wondering what to expect from iCloud? Here's what we think you'll see based upon iCloud's predecessor, Lala.

While much has been made over Apple’s uncharacteristic pre-conference spilling of the beans regarding the impending announcement of a new, web-based service called iCloud, no one really knows what this “amazing,” “fantastic” and “magical” new service is going to look, feel or sound like — and won’t — until Steve Jobs unveils it to the audience at San Francisco’s Moscone West auditorium next week.

Still, we can put together a reasonable idea of the service iCloud will provide based upon Lala, the streaming music service Apple bought back in 2009. Assuming that Apple is basing iCloud on Lala and filling in the blanks with the latest industry reports and rumors, here’s a complete overview of what we think iCloud will look like when it’s announced on Monday.

lala-home.pngLala, a service that not only let users put their own music libraries into the cloud but also sold them cloud-based copies of new music for a dime a track and provided social networking mechanisms for discovering new music and connecting music fans with one another.

So excellent was Lala and so threatening to iTunes’ virtual monopoly on online music distribution — and possibly even to Apple’s then-unknown plans to launch a cloud-based music service of its own — that Apple bought Lala in 2009. And promptly shut the whole thing down.

There’s reason enough to believe the iCloud debut will feature Apple’s polish on Lala’s aborted vision of cloud-based music storage and streaming audio. Yet there’s plenty of smart money riding on the prospect that Apple will deliver something else entirely, something to put the likes of Amazon and Google, Spotify and Rdio permanently in the rear-view mirror as it drives a new rescue mission for the ailing recording industry.

Using Lala’s best points as a guide then, here’s what we can reasonably expect from iCloud, at least as far as your music is concerned:

  • MacGoo

    I think several of your assertions are a bit off base. First off, WHY would Apple put their streaming in a browser window, separate from the piece of desktop software that has been the backbone of their success?! Expect iCloud to stream THROUGH iTUNES, because no other way makes much sense. They want to keep them in the store, not out in a browser window. The one caveat to this is that it may ALSO be available in the browser window as well. But NOT exclusively.

    Second, Apple would be remiss if they were as draconian as you claim they will be with regards to unverified music. Rather than shutting it out completely, I would venture a guess that they will do something VERY similar to the solution Amazon and Google have already put forth: unverified music will probably simply have to be uploaded to their servers individually, rather than simply scanning and matching those tracks with Apple’s masters. Simple.

    While admittedly too soon to make rock-solid predictions, those solutions seem rather obvious to me – am I just naive? I hope not…

  • Aj Tk427

    agree, although there was an article which mentioned that apple would pay the labels some amount (probably pennies) for music that wasn’t purchased from iTunes but exists in your library.

    Also I complete disagree with the notion that this will be through the browser only.  Apple is the personification of the app, whether this will be through an updated iPod app, or a new cloud app I don’t know.  Maybe not for desktops, but you better believe there will be an iPod, iPhone and iPad app if not complete baked into iOS.