Apple is much expected to make an announcement next month that they're releasing a cloud based music service a la Amazon Cloud Drive and Google Music. Much of what I've heard from others is speculation that they're going to release a competitor to those serices directly, a "music locker" where you uplaod music that you already own to their servers are are able to stream it directly to your device. While possible, I think they are going to release something of the same vein but drastically different.
If you look at the headlines, one thing is immediately obvious, record labels are unhappy with Google and Amazon. They want in on the cloud based music streaming business as much as anyone, making absurd claims that streaming your own song from someone elses computer consitutes a public performance among other things. Google and Amazon launched their services anyways, not worrying about any potential repercussions with the record labels (a good decision if you ask me). Apple on the other hand is stil in talks with 2 of the record companies, but why? Surely if they were announcing a cloud based locker service there's no reason to really get the approval of the record labels...
We speculate that Google's negotiations with the recording industry fell apart when trying to negotiate a deal to stream music purchased through Google Music to users from a single copy of the song hosted on Google's servers. Therefore with a little bit of extrapolation, it's not hard to imagine thats where Apple is held up as well. So... if Apple is making that a core part of their business model then my prediction is that Apple is trying to make a cloud based service where they host only one version of the song....and everyone streams that one version that they've purchased through iTunes, foregoing the music locker concept altogether.
So a few people I've mentioned this to said they wouldn't use the service if Apple did this but if you think about it, Apple has every reason to only offer this service. No huge bandwidth requirements for people uploading 200 days of music, way less space required on the server side and perhaps most importantly Apple gives you yet another reason to buy things through iTunes. With tight integration into iOS and iTunes, Apple could make this offering seem pretty lucrative albeit restrictive.
What do you think?