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Apple's iTunes cloud locker may eventualy carry a fee

updated 02:00 pm EDT, Tue April 26, 2011

iTunes cloud music may not be free for long

Apple's iTunes cloud music plans might not necessarily be free to use, contacts in the music business hinted Tuesday. They stopped short of claiming to know the pricing but heard it could be free to use at first and incur a fee later. CNET in getting the tip also didn't learn how the model would work, such as whether it would be a trial for a MobileMe subscription or if it would be a separate fee.

The price might be necessary to reassure labels. Apple is suspected of making much better progress than Google in landing deals, but insiders have regularly mentioned labels pushing for a second charge. Despite the service simply relying on accessing a user's existing collection in the cloud, the labels allegedly interpret this as a second use that needs extra royalties.

Google Music was rumored to be going the same route with a $25 yearly charge to offset labels. Whether or not it ever gets there has been thrown into doubt after Google purportedly reversed much of its progress. It may be considering a switch to Spotify precisely to avoid the label demands Apple would also face.

The approach may be the labels' hope of instituting a recurring fee knowing that Apple has often resisted any kind of subscription. Month-to-month access has often been vehemently opposed by movie studios, which stand to lose money, but have been sought after by the music industry. A typical $10 subscription equates roughly to buying an album every month where most listeners would otherwise buy only a few albums a year.

Apple may be willing to accept passing on the costs in order to both claim an edge over Google and give iOS devices a workaround for the limitations of flash storage. Cloud access would let users get at their entire collections through streaming without having to buy more expensive iPads or iPhones.

by MacNN Staff



  1. legacyb4

    Joined: Dec 1969


    $$$ or Free, let's get it on already

    Enough of the waffling; s*** or get off the pot!

  1. ebeyer

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Get on with it, indeed.

    Months after this rumor was first reported, my understanding of this service is still "cloudy". I would deeply appreciate the sunshine of solid information.


  1. Salty

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Why Am...

    Why am I expected to pay $25 a year for a service I don't even want? The labels really need to focus on actually selling new music instead of trying to get money for nothing off the music they already have. Seriously, when most of the music I buy is independent, why on earth would I pay you to store music in the cloud? Heck why on earth are people wanting this? I think this is a solution looking for a problem.

  1. facebook_Timothy

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2011



    This idea will fail..miserably. I don't see people paying $10-25/mo to have cloud access to their music.

    At those rates, the subscription-based model looks all the more attractive.


  1. facebook_Clarence

    Via Facebook

    Joined: Apr 2011


    Dumb idea

    Another dumb idea brought to you by the Geniuses™ at Apple. Cloud music? Why would I need that if I have music on my Android already? I guess I could shackle myself to iTunes and be forced to pay outrageous fees, but I'll stick with drrrroid!

    - Sent from my Android device.

  1. Arty50

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not paying for cloud music

    I would actually love storing my music collection on "the cloud." Then I could actually have access to my entire music library instead of having to cherry pick certain songs due to the limited storage on cell phones.

    That said, there's no way in h*** I'm going to pay extra for it. I bought the damn cds. I should be able to listen to them however I want. A drive on the cloud is no different from a hard drive in my computer at home. Amazon has this right. They're telling the labels to s**** off for that very reason. If Apple expects me to pay for this above and beyond the normal mobile me subscription fee, they're sadly mistaken.

  1. chippie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Everyone Should Just Create Their Own Cloud

    This would be the most secure way to access all your data and media when you want wherever you are. Don't fall for the " I need to pay for an outside service to be in the cloud hocus pocus!"
    Most of us already have everything we need to open our own clouds: internet connected home, and NAS storage device or even a desktop with a lot of storage that has been setup to allow access via the internet. Seems like the tech companies and press takes everyone for fools!

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