iTunes, iCloud, iTunes Match… cloudy, with a chance of windfalls?
or, Problems for labels with iTunes Match?
On Monday the 6th of June, Apple’s keynote at their World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC 2011) had many positive things to announce: OSX Lion, with its $29.99 price tag, its array of new and improved features and cloud download to every customer’s compatible Mac after purchase (ala Steam). At the same time iOS version 5 for mobile devices (the beta of which has already been jailbroken less than 24 hours after release), and their revamped mobileMe cloud service – dubbed iCloud – finally arrives on the scene to add another layer of integration to the mac user’s ecosystem.
Of all the hundreds of new ‘features’ introduced, most are unremarkable or arguably not very innovative (at least when using some of the things Apple have devised in the past decade as a benchmark!). If anything, they are just an amalgamation of features previously available elsewhere, except now in an Apple-mandated, fully synchronised, pain-free fashion. All you need to enjoy? An Apple device.
However, the real announcement (the one occupying most of the acres of print and online coverage, and the one also keeping the independent music sector on tenterhooks) has been Apple’s music service. Precious little was revealed prior to the WWDC keynote (in typical Apple fashion), but here is the précis for those who didn’t catch the keynote live:
- One of the new cloud-based features has been dubbed “iTunes in the Cloud”
- Service offers customers ability to buy once, download many times (up to 10)
- Automatic synchronisation and permanent storage of their purchases online is included for no extra cost, all controlled from their account
- Customers can manually sync over prior purchases to their other devices
- If customer buys a track on their iPhone, it will also appear on their other devices.
- The Complete My Album feature is implemented into the Cloud service, with the same features as before.
- Seamless cloud functionality (apparently), again tracks sync to all devices
But the “One More Thing” was the real kicker… iTunes Match.