Streaming Music In The Cloud

Apple has been making a lot of noise recently regarding their proposed implementation of a cloud-based music service. The move makes sense, as Google and Amazon have been offering music-streaming services via cloud since 2011 when the technology first started to take off. So now that Apple’s monolithic music provider iTunes is moving in a cloud-based direction, it’s important to look at this method of accessing music in order to gauge its current and future viability.

Understanding the basics of music in the cloud

Cloud music, at its core is music streaming. Whole libraries of music can be uploaded to a cloud server and this music can then be streamed by anyone with access to said server. The idea of cloud was born of the current trend regarding music consumers and MP3s. While iTunes maintains its global popularity in the world of paid music downloads, people simply aren’t willing to spend thousands of dollars to fill their iPods with content.

Thus the idea of access rather than ownership is becoming ever more attractive.

The current realities of cloud music

With Apple throwing their hat in the ring with these other giant companies and creating a streaming service, one would think cloud is dominating the market. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. What Apple is really doing is betting on the future, and this is evident in the current numbers. For example, according to a survey by eMusic, roughly an equal portion of music consumers stream music, purchase music and download music. But according to an NDP research report only 6% of those using the Internet have used cloud services such as those on offer by Amazon and Google.

And while these numbers indicate the act of music streaming is certainly mainstream, they also indicate that the real test of cloud’s viability is in the year to come.

The economic model of streaming in the cloud

While streaming is proving increasingly popular among music fans, what the data also shows is that few people are interested in paying for the privilege. According to another study by eMusic, a mere 13% of consumers pay to stream music via cloud. So with few people willing to open their pocketbooks, the economic model of cloud will likely end up looking something like social games, where users can opt for a free service or pay for a premium service.

Cloud music streaming in the future

Whether cloud becomes the dominant form of accessing music or ends up forgotten by the masses largely depends on the promotional push behind cloud in the here and now. The cloud services on offer from Apple, Google and Amazon aren’t going to be much good without people using them. The key is simply getting enough people to use sites like these as well as sites like Spotify. But the trend is moving in a positive direction.

For example, iCloud is already experiencing significant growth. In the first six months since its launch it acquired 125 million users. What the company is not willing to be so open about is how many of these people are actually paying for premium service. And it’s just this data that will determine the long-term viability of cloud.

But at the very least streaming will play a major role in future music access. And if tech and social media trends are any indicator, cloud could end up bigger than anyone anticipates.

Would like to give a shout out to Justin Miller who is a professional blogger that helped with the research for this post. He also writes on a variety of topics including taking guitar lessons for JamPlay.com, a leading online music educator offering 2,000+ guitar songs to learn in HD.

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Paul

Digital Poet at BurnWorld Inc.

I am the Team Leader here at BurnWorld. I am an audio/video enthusiast and have been in this industry for over 10 years. I love testing DVD/Blu-Ray and Video software.


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11 Comments

  • Liza says:

    I am really quite surprised that Apple / i-tunes is this late to the cloud party. Most people think of Apple as a leader in the music streaming industry. I have been using Google Play for quite some time and they seem to do a very good job of providing a simple user interface for people to manage their music files and enable them to upload music to Google’s cloud server.

  • Bobbie says:

    So If I understand these surveys correctly that the majority of people are still downloading music and playing it from storage media such as CDs or DVDs or hard drives. This must then mean that the majority of people are staying away from cloud servers for the same reason I have avoided using them: a fear of being charged for cloud storage now or in the future.

  • Angelo says:

    I think this is great because I have heard that if you store a lot of music then you should use something like the cloud because it won’t eat up your memory volume that way. Thank you for posting this information because that will help persuade people to use it more and not their computers hard drive. I look forward to sharing this with my son.

  • Dina says:

    It should be interesting to see how this all plays out among the major cloud streaming music providers as this particular industry matures. It is obviously still in its infancy, even though Google and Pandora have been operating for a number of year. I think Pandora is the more established brand because I only noticed Google Play start offering free service (with limited number of songs) just recently.

  • Michael Preston Booya says:

    This is definitely good news for fans of streaming music, Amazon now supports Roku and Samsung Smart TVs in regards to the Amazon Cloud Player application. The Amazon Cloud Player application allows users to store up to 250 songs for free and access the music on laptops, tablets, smartphones and other devices. In addition, Amazon will increase a user’s song limit to 250,000 on the $24.99-per-year on the premium plan.

  • Brookelyn Tate says:

    I did not think the streaming music cloud business was all that new. After all, you have cloud music service providers such as Pandora and what I think is an older service cloud company, Rhapsody. And then you got Google, who has been in this game for a few months now. I think they started promoting their Play service early in 2012. I like Google’s free package better. They give you more quantity of songs.

  • mccloud33 says:

    When it comes to the future of digital music consumption, music streaming services like Spotify are slowly starting to replace the way people have traditionally downloaded music over the Internet. Controversy over downloading music has plagued cyberspace since the day that Napster revolutionized the music industry. We can all recall back when several popular P2P file-sharing services including Napster, OpenNap and Limewire were forced by the Recording Industry to cease operations due to copyright infringement.

  • jacksback says:

    Google Play users won’t have to upload every single song to their music locker anymore. Google just introduced its own version of iTunes Match, which identifies songs on a user’s hard drive and then unlocks them in the cloud. The main difference: Google’s version is free. I will be sure the try this new feature out. I have been using Google Play, but now, I’m even more excited.

  • T.Blevins says:

    From what I understand music and videos take up a lot of space on your computer or electronic device and if you store them on the cloud you aren’t using that space and it is a secure site to save things on. I think this is a good idea but I wouldn’t trust personal information to the cloud is all. Thank you for posting this idea I will pass this on to my son.

  • jackymac says:

    This is a good idea, my son downloads a lot of movies and videos from you tube and he doesn’t have much room on his computer anymore so he has started deleting things with this I don’t think he would have to do that for a long time. Thank you for the information because I am looking for a cheap way to fix the problem.

  • beastyboyg says:

    Having a good video converter software program like the one that is being offered in the pop up light box screen – one that is reliable – is a necessary thing, whether you edit video regularly or not. Even if you are not a movie maker, the day will come when you will need to share a video or convert a clip or even burn a movie and you will feel lost without a reliable converter.

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