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iTunes Match not really streaming, Apple spokesman says

updated 02:05 pm EDT, Tue August 30, 2011

Downloads just playing before completion

iTunes Match is not doing any remote streaming of music, an Apple spokesperson clarifies. Despite initial appearances, the spokesperson explains that any music held in iCloud must still be downloaded to a device before it can be played. What looks like streaming is said to be just simultaneous downloading and playback, even though a person hasn't actually selected the permanent download option.

While the difference is subtle, it does mean that anyone using iTunes Match is consuming some local storage. Temporary downloads are likely cleared from cache occasionally, though iTunes Match is still so new that this behavior hasn't been spotted yet.

An executive with a major music label tells All Things Digital that Apple's system is not related to missing rights from labels or publishers, since the company already has streaming rights. The person instead claims that the approach is a conscious design meant to achieve two objectives. The first is to get around the limits of telecom networks, since Apple allegedly doesn't trust carriers to handle on-demand streaming. The other is branding, as Apple supposedly wants people to associate entertainment with its own hardware, rather than make it something that can be accessed anywhere through a web browser.

"Apple's platform is all about these files on their devices, that have incredibly great playback experience for the consumer," the executive remarks. "The other cloud version, the Google version, of playback on any device on the cloud -- they're not interested in that. Apple is using the cloud to fix and advance their ecosystem."




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Zanziboy

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +2

    Apple Never Mentioned Streaming

    Why hold an Internet connection open on your phone for random access? On a mobile network this is asking for buffering issues. Thank goodness the song is downloaded before it plays!

  1. dpicardi

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -6

    still...

    that is a major disappointment. I'd rather load up my phone iwth Apps and have the music stream. Yes there are other options but it would have been nice if Apple could have been the one stop shop.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -5

    Re: Apple Never Mentioned Streaming

    Why hold an Internet connection open on your phone for random access?

    Who said anything about holding it open? And, technically, you probably already have it open all the time for all the other random access going on (like mail, voicemail, safari, etc).

    On a mobile network this is asking for buffering issues. Thank goodness the song is downloaded before it plays!

    There's still buffering issues. The article says that it starts playing while it's downloading. Which means if there's a hiccup in the transmission, then you might hit the download position and cause it to burp. For example, YouTube. If you've ever watched a video on that with a slow connection, you would notice how it sometimes starts then stops, causing you to hit play a couple of times while watching. Same thing.

    That isn't how streaming works. Streaming isn't about getting every bit to your device. It's about a constant stream that you hope your device will keep up with. Like listening to XM. Go under a long bridge or something, you might disrupt the signal for a second or two. But it's goal is to give you as much as possible while keeping up.

    This is also why Real crashed. They never understood how to stream, so they kept buffering.

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