Amazon vs Apple Music StreamingPosted: April 22, 2011
This is just a copy/paste of the comments I wrote on the above article with typos fixed.
Disclaimer: This is the way I read it and my own opinion on how it will work!
Apple’s version of music streaming would be more robust but more restricted.
Apple getting licenses from the music industry means basically they want to allow streaming directly from the iTunes servers for music you have bought. iTunes will maintain a list of music you have purchased, and an iOS/Mac interface to allow you to stream them on any device. This will also mean that you won’t be able to upload your own content. Only music purchased directly through iTunes will be available since Apple won’t have licenses to any music outside it’s iTunes eco-system. If some labels refuse to come on board, it might even be more convoluted with some music available for streaming while others not.
iDisk vs Apple’s service would be more like a truck vs a train (set tracks)
Amazon’s music service is more like Dropbox in that you can put in whatever you want and Amazon will have designated storage just for your content. I’m not sure in the details, but I think it would be a pretty good idea to use hash keys to consolidate some space (improve upload as well as download performance) for duplicate files from multiple users. However, this will be a weak point when (not if) the music labels sue since they can argue that Amazon is using a single copy of the music to broadcast (“public performance”) instead of giving each user their individual copy, which they are already licensed to do.
Amazon is trying to argue that cloud storage is nothing different from a personal external hard drive connected to your device with a really long cable. You still pay (and own) the storage (Amazon subsidizes some of it) and you still pay (and own) the music stored on that storage. Nobody but yourself will have access to your private collection of music stored on your private cloud storage.
Tangent: I’m wondering about how robust Dropbox’s legal standings are, now that I know that they actually do consolidate duplicate files using a hash key. User uploaded copyrighted music and videos are being stored as single files on Dropbox’s servers and served to multiple users, but only if the files are identical. Both the music and movie industries could argue the case of public performance royalties over mechanical royalties. I’m also wondering if they would be able to protect themselves by storing separate copies of each file in their own software, but using an underlying 3rd party file management system that does the hash key single storage trick transparently.