The music industry is gambling heavily on streaming. Google’s service in the long-rumored music is likely to be based streaming, and streaming services like Spotify have been hailed by industry pundits (who, remember, are mostly guessing) as potential saviors of the biz. If streaming is the way things are going, Apple, whose iTunes has an advantage over sales in the industry of digital music retail to other handsets, will want to enter the initial phase of transition.
In late 2009, When Apple purchased music-streaming service Lala, people had many ideas about how Apple would fold the service into its market-dominating iTunes Music Store – improving the Genius music recommendation service, offering a stream-based iTunes to run parallel with the original flavor, et cetera. Since then Lala has been offline and Apple hasn’t done anything with its acquisition, leading to another round of theorizing – some people think Apple bought Lala and shut it down just to be a music-industry bully.
Finally, though, it appears that Apple may be offering a music “locker” as part of its cloud-based MobileMe service, which is rumored to be getting a much-needed relaunch this spring. Warner has supposedly already signed on, and in the words of the Music Void’s Wayne Rosso (author of the linked story), Universal and EMI are “more or less pushovers.” This leaves Sony out of the four main convince, that could be a challenge. Sony is not a big fan of iTunes, and has in the past tried to get the other three to agree to a collective bailing on iTunes. Still, as Rosso points out, “the record industry is Steve Jobs’ bitch.” Might not have much of a choice for Sony .