updated 05:05 pm EDT, Thu June 2, 2011
Subscriptions expected to cost 'about $25 a year'
iCloud's music services will start with a free trial period, but eventually require an annual subscription, say sources for the LA Times. The paper reports that an iCloud streaming trial will come with a purchase of music from iTunes, entitling people to upload music to Apple servers. Some recent accounts have said Apple will simply scan a person's iTunes library and mirror it without necessarily demanding track uploads, but any disparity with the Times claim could be a matter of wording.
Once the need for a subscription kicks in, Apple is expected to charge "about" $25 a year. The company is also said to be ready to sell advertising around iCloud, though exact intentions aren't mentioned. One source described as "knowledgeable of the company's plans" adds that in the long term, Apple is hoping to expand streaming to include movies, TV shows and other content sold through iTunes. The assertion backs reports that Apple is still negotiating with studios for video rights.
Apple has only just completed deals with all four major record labels, those being Warner, EMI, Universal and Sony. No deals with popular independents have been confirmed so far. Apple's approach differs significantly from that of Amazon and Google, both of which started cloud streaming without deals but require that people upload any and all music they want to access remotely.