Apple Seeks to Offer Cloud Access
The proposal under discussion would "give users more flexibility in how they access purchased music," says Bloomberg News, which broke the story. "A deal would provide iTunes customers with a permanent backup of music purchases if the originals are damaged or lost."
Cloud-based access would give iTunes a leg up on subscription services like Rhapsody, offering the best of both worlds, the permanent ownership of a download combined with the flexibility of a subscription service. Apple is talking the Big Four music labels: EMI, Sony, Universal, and Warner. There is no word on cost.
Cloud-based content access is a good idea and Apple isn't the first company to explore it. Several other companies have formed a consortium called the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem to promote a set of technologies called UltraViolet, which would offer access to content across multiple platforms including TVs, PCs, game consoles, smart phones, and tablets. The consortium has attracted numerous entertainment industry heavyweights—though Apple is a notable exception. See our most recent story on the subject.
In addition, Disney is working on its own version of cloud-based content distribution, called Keychest.