Apple and Music Publishers Close to Agreement on Cloud Licensing, But Delays Still Possible

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, May 24, 2011.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001


    Late last week, we reported that despite having three of the four major labels on board with its plan for a cloud-based streaming service and the final label apparently close to signing a deal, Apple still needs to reach agreements with the music publishers before it can launch its service. At the time, we noted that the two sides were essentially on the same page, with only monetary compensation to be negotiated.

    CNET now provides an update claiming that the two sides are actually quite close on the monetary issue, leaving only a small amount of negotiation. The report does caution, however, that unexpected delays can still pop up and that even seemingly simple negotiations can take significant amounts of time in the complex landscape of music sales.
    The report lays out how Apple and music publishers are having to forge into entirely new territory with their negotiations over cloud-based streaming services. Publishers are currently paid at a fixed rate of 9.1 cents per track sold either digitally or on physical media, a rate set by the U.S. Congress. Separate cloud streaming rights are not part of that package and thus Apple and the publishers have had to hash out new standards for the industry.

    Reports indicate that labels and publishers are keen to have Apple launch its service quickly, looking to the service as another revenue-generating opportunity to help reverse declines in the industry and as a means to get Google and Amazon to reach similar agreements after those companies launched basic cloud services without the agreement of labels and publishers. That said, there is reportedly some tension between labels and publishers, with publishers apparently upset that labels have already claimed the vast majority of money Apple is prepared to pay for cloud streaming rights, leaving little for the publishers. The disagreements may primarily be posturing by the different parties, however, and thus it is likely that they can be overcome.

    CNET does still expect Apple's cloud-based streaming service to debut at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, an event that begins in just two weeks.

    Article Link: Apple and Music Publishers Close to Agreement on Cloud Licensing, But Delays Still Possible
  2. iceterminal macrumors 68000


    May 25, 2008
    Dallas Tx.
    I have no need whatsoever to put any of my music up on a server that is own, operated, controlled, and prowled by a corporation who's only objective is to find new and exciting ways to separate my money from my pocket. My home computer will do fine thank you very much.
  3. Popeye206 macrumors 68040


    Sep 6, 2007
  4. hfletcher macrumors 6502


    Oct 10, 2008
    It's good that Apple are negotiating and trying to get a deal which works for the music labels too. Googles/Amazons cloud service will just end up annoying the music labels as it didn't have their consent (even if they didn't need it)

    Hopefully with the full support of the music industry, Apple will be able to launch a superior product..
  5. talkingfuture macrumors 65816


    Dec 4, 2008
    The back of beyond.
    Looking forward to seeing what they have come up with for this and Mobile Me as a whole. Hopefully we won't have to wait long and it will be ready for WWDC.
  6. omegaphil6 macrumors 6502

    Jul 19, 2002
    Fort Myers Florida
    what are the chances that with this paid service it will also cover the data being used to stream to and from the cloud?

    If a CD length of music is 700MB, then more than 80 minutes of listening will fry your data plan resulting in overages caused by a service we have to pay for...
  7. cxny macrumors 6502

    Jan 13, 2004
    New York
    I just want to park 30,000 songs somewhere so I can retire a bunch of iTunes music libraries, mostly CD rips, could that be a scenario with this service?
  8. bbeagle macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    Which is why the benefits of using the cloud service must outweigh the benefits of having a home server or syncing.

    One possibility I see right away is that if I buy a song, it's immediately available without downloading for everyone on my account (my wife, kids). Of course, when I download George Strait, my kids won't want to listen to it, and when my kids download Lady Gaga, I won't want to listen to it, but that's not the point! :)
  9. Tundraboy macrumors member

    Mar 14, 2009
    Yawn!!!!! Who cares!!!!!

    Knowing Apple it will cost a lot of money for something you can get else where for free, but as soon as Steve says its MAGICAL fanboys will run out and buy it. Apple uses MAGICAL clouds and it will completely change the way you look at life and the sky!!!!
  10. Full of Win macrumors 68030

    Full of Win

    Nov 22, 2007
    Ask Apple
    Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

    Hopefully this will be for songs other than iTunes purchased content. If not, this will be DOA for most.
  11. Boston007 macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2010
    Keep discussing...

    Please, keep discussing...

    I've already moved on to Amazon Music for my purchased music needs...
  12. firestarter macrumors 603


    Dec 31, 2002
    Green and pleasant land
    It's going to be US only for a year or so anyway... for sure. :(
  13. samcraig macrumors P6

    Jun 22, 2009
    Two weeks, I think, is pretty "optimistic" to debut at WWDC.

    And still, anything could happen and shut down negotiations. It will be interesting to see what develops. Competition is good. An iTunes media monopoly is not.
  14. autrefois macrumors 65816


    Oct 22, 2003
    Somewhere in the USA
    Thank goodness this service will be completely optional then and we won't be required by law to sign up for it! (Unless there's some hidden provision of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act I haven't heard about ;)).

    It will have to be a pretty interesting deal for me to jump on board. I just hope that this much-rumored cloud initiative by Apple will not be "just" for music, and will incorporate, expand, and improve on MobileMe features. (And I hope the main update on that end won't just be email addresses. :p)
  15. aibo82 macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2010
    Well will this support the 100's of mp3s that have been downloaded of pirate bay and the like?

    I don't see how this is going to work because deny it all you like people download dodgy mp3s!

    I'm sticking to my computer and a NAS drive :p

    I'm my own cloud from the crowd!
  16. bbeagle macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    Only if something really is BETTER will Apple fans go out and use it.

    Are Apple fanboys using Ping in great numbers? No. Because it doesn't offer more than facebook/twitter/etc. yet. Are they using .ME in great numbers? No. Because it isn't better than Google mail, etc.

    Just because you don't see what makes an iPad magical and 1000x better than an Android tablet, doesn't make you right and everyone else in the world wrong.
  17. ratzzo macrumors 6502a


    Apr 20, 2011
    Cloud storage is the future indeed, as internet speeds go past hardware limits.. however most good connections are limited to a few countries, and even so uploading dozens of GBs to the cloud seems like an unrealistic scenario even for today. Downloading music, on the other hand, seems easier.
  18. bbeagle macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    Riddle me this, Einstein.

    Apple makes money SELLING music. Exactly why would Apple make something to help people who pirate music?
  19. OllyW Moderator


    Staff Member

    Oct 11, 2005
    The Black Country, England
    I don't think it will be compulsory. :)
  20. guitarman777 macrumors regular


    Sep 15, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Not only do I have precisely zero need for a cloud-based service for my music, I don't know a single person who does. And I'm a touring musician. Just seems like a pointless service to me. I've got a laptop with my entire music library on it and bring it with me virtually everywhere I go. If I don't have my laptop, I have my iPhone. Plenty of room for the music I'm particularly digging from my library. If my wife and I want to share some new music from each other's libraries, we share it when we're at home together. I just don't get it. But then again, there are lots of tech tools & toys out there that I just don't get either.
  21. HobeSoundDarryl, May 24, 2011
    Last edited: May 24, 2011

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    The working perception of Apple's version is the concept that the ONE master copy they offer for sale in the iTunes store can be made available to many owners of that song via this cloud. So, for example, right now you buy a song, download it and use it almost as you wish. This new model would probably work like that too, but it would also note your ownership of the song so that you have access to it even when you are not at home (or it is not one you chose to sync to your iDevice before you left home).

    Your desire would require some kind of arrangement where either:
    • you have to upload & store all of your non-iTunes-purchased songs (all those CD rips, etc) OR
    • Apple works some kind of "magical" deal where if it's in your music library now (iTunes purchases or not) it is recognized and you gain access to the master version on the iTunes server when needed.

    For business reasons, Apple (and the music industry) would almost certainly go with the former. For Apple, it becomes another motivator to exclusively buy your music via iTunes. For the music industry, it encourages sales (even the "buy it again" mentality) rather than allowing any pirated music to have enhanced convenience.

    My best guess is that except for iTunes-purchased music, anything else in your iTunes library that you want to stream from the cloud will have to be uploaded, which would make that part of the service work similarly to what Amazon & Google are already doing.

    I suppose a third (longshot) option might be something like the iTunes Plus conversion in which all of the non-iTunes-purchased music could be scanned and for a smaller transaction (something shy of full price), those tracks could become the equivalent of iTunes-purchased tracks for these streaming purposes. This might even become some sort of amnesty concept through which any illegally obtained media could become legally licensed by paying the fee.

    I could see that working for both Apple & the music companies as Apple could basically pass through any money made in the amnesty upgrades and the music companies could potentially be paid something... instead of potentially nothing. However, for big collections like yours, if I assume that maybe 90% of your songs are from non-iTunes-store purchases (CD rips), that would add up to 27K songs for this kind of option. Even if the price was something like 39 cents per song, the fee to do all 27K would exceed $10K. And, IMO, I could easily see such an option priced higher than 39 cents per... at least as easy as one could imagine something a bit lower. I suppose such an option would turn into picking & choosing which you want to access via the master copy and which you might want to upload with the sole financial driver being how much Apple wants to store your own rips vs. how much they want you to pay for access to the master copy.

    I doubt this whole thing can be a winner if it ends up isolating the benefits solely to iTunes-purchased media... except for those who have always & only purchased their media via iTunes.
  22. Morod macrumors 68000


    Jan 1, 2008
    On The Nickel, over there....
  23. Tiger8 macrumors 68020

    May 23, 2011
    I wonder if there is more than meets the eye for this one. I mean, surely Apple can't be doing all those negotiations simply to allow people to stream their iTunes from everywhere? Maybe they are going to finally introduce a subscription service ala Napster? Something in between?
  24. aibo82 macrumors 6502

    Apr 11, 2010
    That's why people will boycott it if it's free or cheap elsewhere why use the cloud to stream it at the cost of a very expensive 3G bill or unlimited home broadband plan!
  25. goosnarrggh macrumors 68000

    May 16, 2006
    It seems fairly obvious, to me at least, that aiboi82 is not asking Apple to go out of its way to create a corporate cloud music service that supports people who pirate music.

    Instead, I think (s)he was simply pointing out their opinion that corporate-backed cloud music services are a non-starter, in which s(he) will never have any interest whatsoever, specifically because, by the very nature of the legal interests of the people in charge of such services, they will always present roadblocks to doing the things the way s(he) is interested in doing them.

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