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Summary:

Apple might charge for its rumored cloud-music storage service, according to a new report from CNET. The tech site says that “music industry insiders” are saying cloud-storage for iTunes libraries won’t be free, at least not after an initial trial period. But would you pay?

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Apple might charge for its rumored cloud-music storage service, according to a new report from Cnet . The tech site says “music industry insiders” are saying cloud-storage for iTunes libraries won’t be free, at least not after an initial trial period. What those charges might be is anyone’s guess, but it raises the question of whether or not cloud music is something people will pay for.

Amazon currently doesn’t charge anything for its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player service, at least not until you exceed the included 5 GB limit. You can also get 20 GB of storage free for a limited time when you buy an album, but after the promotion ends, that’ll cost $20 a year. Google is also rumored to be considering paid subscription options for its yet-to-be-announced cloud storage and music service. Apple already charges for cloud file storage through its MobileMe product (though rumors the service will go free persist), so the idea that it would put a price tag on a new iTunes-related service is well within reason.

But even if it’s reasonable for Apple to charge, would you pay for a cloud music offering from the Mac-maker? As someone who already pays for MobileMe because of the convenience factor, I’d likely also be willing to put up a small annual fee in order to be able to access my iTunes library everywhere, from any device, using a service that requires little to no setup or maintenance. But there are other options out there for remote streaming of your iTunes library content, and some might argue cloud-based streaming should be included in the existing cost of iTunes music. Let us know your take in the survey below and in the comments.

  1. It would seem that this would be a natural extension of mobileme (at no extra charge).

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  2. I would not pay Apple or anyone else five cents for cloud storage of any of my digital property. I want my stuff to be available all the time and I don’t want it to disappear without a trace as happened to me with Mobile Me. A look at last weeks news about Amazon’s cloud failure is a shocker and they have a lot more experience than Apple.

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  3. I would prefer any charges be included in MobileMe subscription without raising the current price (e.g., it could be a new souped up version of iDisk with a LARGE storage limit).

    Then I would offer a free version of MobileMe with basic services like email and find my iDevice.

    For an additional monthly fee I would offer free access to all iTunes music and video rental content in tandem with the current rental model for infrequent users.

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    1. I agree with your idea. I am currently a MobileMe subscriber, but if it doesn’t go free or significantly reduce in price (at its current features), I may not renew this fall. Google Apps is increasing in features and reliability – and its free!

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  4. Amazon has already amortized the costs of their data center a hundred times over, thanks to S3, EC2. etc. I think they’re always going to be in a better position than Apple to offer cloud storage for the lowest price, except in the unlikely even that Google manages to ever get its own music service worked out with the record labels and undercut Amazon.

    Somehow, I can’t see Apple implementing a cloud solution that won’t be dependent on iTunes in some way, shape or form, in which case I’m absolutely not interested. iTunes is the Antichrist, and I won’t use a computer or device that has or requires it.

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    1. So you’d prefer Google over iTunes?!

      If we’re going to nail someone to the wall as the “Antichrist” it would seem the digital music service (iTunes) isn’t the direction I would go.

      Think about the extent of Google’s reach and everything they have their hand in. Really?

      Sent from my iPhone.

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      1. I prefer Amazon. The iTunes gripe was about the control it exerts on file transfer operations. I’ll take drag-and-drop portability any day of the week.

        If I really wanted to be tin foil hat about Google, I wouldn’t use Gmail, Android, etc. I don’t see the problem with Google storing my music, nor would I see a problem with Apple doing the same as long as iTunes isn’t required as a client.

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  5. …anything Steve Jobs wants, I defer to his boundless wisdom.

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  6. I’d happily pay a modest fee for cloud services so long as its got fork knox security and backed up. A modest fee is not that of MobileMe, which I only use a fraction of thanks to DropBox which takes care of my main cloud use.

    If my music goes to the cloud, I’d like to see a simple easy way to get it there, such as uploading my iTunes database not the actual raw music files itself because Apple could just provide the digital music to match my database so I’m not suddenly trying to upload gigabytes of files. Makes sense?

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  7. I really don’t see the point of these “music locker” services.

    They can only appeal to the tech-savvy consumer – someone who likes technology, understands how this would work, and cares enough about their music collection for this to be relevant. The big problem there, though, is that’s exactly the sort of person who already has an MP3 player or, more likely, a phone with a player built in (iOS, Android, whatever). That player is always ready to play music – no logging in, no streaming, no buffering, no waiting for service. The cloud service, assuming it works on streaming, doesn’t have that immediacy. Sure, it’s accessible from anywhere, but so’s my phone – and more quickly…

    I’m also wondering if there’s going to be some sort of DRM built in? In other words, what’s to stop someone giving their mates the login and sharing their music – obviously it’s already possible to share MP3s via a USB key, but this opens sharing up massively – will the RIAA or whoever be happy with that, or will they stick their oar in?

    I’ve got other questions too, but I guess we’ll have to wait and see what they come up with. For now, though, I really can’t see why anyone would want to use such a service…

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