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Apple Takes Music To The Cloud

Apple puts music in the cloud. We’ll look at what it means for listening and for the music business.



In the digital world, everything is going to the “cloud.” Off PCs and hard drives. Into giant server farms that you can access from anywhere. Next up — music.

On Monday, Apple will roll out its latest offering: iCloud. Your music, available anywhere, from their cloud, their server farm. Never mind antique vinyl records and CDs. You won’t even need the files.

Just Bach, Beethoven and Lady Gaga, rolling down from the heavens. Apple has tried before and failed. This time out, they’re signing up all the big labels.

This hour On Point: when music goes to the cloud.

- Tom Ashbrook


Brian X. Chen, technology reporter for Wired.com. His forthcoming book is Always On: How the iPhone Unlocked the Anything-Anytime-Anywhere Future — and Locked Us In.

Jon Potter, consultant RPG Strategies. Founder and former executive director of the Digital Media Association.

Jim Eno, drummer and one of the founding members of the band Spoon. He is also a record producer.


Best-selling author Jonathan Franzen has written family, relationships, and American life into his National Book Award-winning novel “The Corrections,” and last year’s bestselling “Freedom.” On May 21, he delivered a meditation on technology, pain and love to the graduating class at Kenyon College.

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  • Travis Tarpy

    It was about time. 

    • Travis Tarpy

      My hard-drive crashed just last week.
      Lost my entire music library.

      • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

        I assume you just reload it from the backup of your hard disk you surely made.

      • Anonymous

        If you did not backup your files, then this is your fault. Hard drives fail, a lot.
        I have two backups for my iTunes files. You can also use a server for a fee that Apple has.

      • Lacser

        Try again with instinctiv.com a better music player that gives you backup.

  • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

    Obviously, no connection, no music. How much of our music we put in the cloud vs how much we keep on devices will be interesting.

  • Anonymous

    Brilliant marketing by Apple. Appealing to our reptilian brain.
    If you don’t have a good connection no music.

  • ThresherK

    As a late-adopter, might I suggest the word of the day: “Jailbreak”.

  • SpencerCBlake

    I personally can’t get down on this or even really grasp it..  Record covers, lyric sheets, cassette tapes?  Why try to rid the world of these objects that have shaped the past century of music history?  

    The ease of gorging on an infinite music orb may be alluring, but what are the ramifications in the digestion phase?  From the standpoint of a local band pioneer, I’d rather sell somebody a hard copy of an LP I’ve slaved over than let them grab and mangle a dangling, random track. 
    When I’m at home, I put on the vinyl; in my car I listen to the radio or a cd.  Does Apple really want to rid me of those pleasures?  How much differently do they expect humans to act in the service of wrangling up consumers?  It sounds more like a Tower of Babel than a convenience.

  • Sam

    I’ve always gotten my music from the cloud. It’s a cloud I call “radio”.

    • Tina

      Sam — That’s the irony for me!  I love my local NPR station so much that I barely have time to listen to my music, some of which I’ve learned about THRU NPR!  My NPR station is mainly talk radio, but there are great interviews with musicians, and so much else to learn.  Also, we are within earshot of WGBH, but they just changed their format to accommodate their purchase of an older classical music station; so now, in RI, we get a MAINLY talk radio a format from WGBH, too.  Thank goodness they DID let us keep Jazz Decades & Prairie Home companion and Celtic Sojourn.  I can’t get WBUR on my radio, even tho it ALSO comes from Boston; I get it thru my local RI public radio station.  I could stream on my iPodTouch, but I walk around with my Panasonic transistor radio which is only about 2″ x 4″; so I only worry about my battery every 4 months, or so, and I take the used batteries to my recycling center.  I wear an apron, and keep the radio & ear buds in my apron pocket! 

  • Dh001g

    The record companies should provide music on the cloud automatically when you buy music—whether its on 8 track, vinyl, CD, or MP3. Of course then they couldn’t make money endless reissuing Beatles albums in new formats.

  • Tina

    Apple makes EVERYTHING on my iPodTouch go THRU iTunes:  my mail, etc.  If songs are in the Cloud, will hackers be able to get to my mail, etc.?

    (I’m not very computer savvy!)

  • cotd

    Tom, I don’t think Brian has answered your question yet (eventhough you have asked it twice).  Will the music you have already purchased in itunes be available in the cloud?  Or, will you have to re-purchase it?  Simple question that deserves an answer

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Here’s an educated guess:

      If you already own a record or a CD, rip the music and have it in your iTunes library you’re not going to be able to get it free through iCloud.

      If you already bought things from the iTunes store and have them stored in iTunes, my guess is these types of purchases will be “iCloudable.”

      • Tina

        You know what?  If I OWN a CD, I should be able to type in the Bar Code number to an Apple website which then acknowledges that I actually have physical possession of the CD and that it is in my iTunes library because I put it in there because I owned the CD yet wanted it in digital format, too.  I’m betting that people could “steal” bar codes, but I’m sure most people no longer have their receipts for old CDs they bought, so bar codes it could be.  

        I’ll bet that there are enough young kids, age 8 & on up, maybe, who can provide the critical mass for this Cloud thing to work, that the anger that older people will feel about the Cloud loss of THEIR MUSIC THEY ALREADY OWN is less important proportionately.  If I were young, overtime I’d love to own nothing but a bike, a surfboard, and a small car, clothing, makeup, beautiful handcrafted dinnerwear, beautiful rugs, and comfortable sofa/chairs/bed, and electronics.  Perhaps this is the Line in the Sand to that kind of Living, and the loss of beloved music experienced by the rest of us is just a multi-generational loss that is part of the price of a New World Order?  I dunno:  I might become a young person who was  so severe in her minimalism that I never bought things like the ceramic fox who brings mistaken squirrels to my window, the beautiful painting of a dragonfly that supposedly “stands for” Impermanence, etc., etc.  

        • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

          The probably fact that you can’t do that is not Apple’s doing, it’s the music business. When the iPod first came out and Apple had their Rip, Mix, Burn ad, they had to limit the number of CD copies one could burn off a single album rip, even if you owned the album.

          The music industry is reluctant to allow what you’re wanting and as one who owns a lot of CDs and this would benefit, I understand their reluctance.

          • Tina

            Richard, We MIGHT be saying the same thing?  I Do think that musicians should get paid for their music, so too much copying doesn’t reward them well enough.  But, if you were already UNDER the number of copies allowed (i.e., you bought the CD; you ripped it into your iTunes Library; you selected, let’s say, 80% of the songs on the CD to go into the Music (non WiFi) section of your iPodTouch — OR, you selected the entire CD ALBUM to go into the Music (non WiFi) section of your iPodTouch, but not both — either just some songs, OR the entire album), all I’m saying is that you should be able to KEEP THOSE SONGS (or the entire CD ALBUM if you selected the whole album rather than just 80% of the songs from it) WHEN THE SYSTEM GOES TO CLOUD.  To “prove” that you owned the CD album, you would go to a special Apple website & type in the barcode for the CD album.  Then, the software on the website would see that you:  1) already had those songs in your Library, 2) typed in the bar code — SUPPOSEDLY “proving” ownership of the physical CD.  Of course, it doesn’t really prove that for any number of reasons, but it just might help the marketing and PR disadvantages that I’m sure will result when people can’t listen to music they’ve bought that they also love to listen to in the easy, portable format they’ve also come to love. 

            Otherwise, I just don’t get it, except for the bandwidth issues, which I know nothing about, but they seem like important issues as people discuss them here.  But, there ARE new generations of young kids being created all the time, and THEY aren’t necessarily strapped to older physical formats, so, eventually, there will be enough Critical Mass from those kids alone, to make the loss of pre-owned music a non-issue.  But, I still don’t get how any of the newer generations will be happy that they have to go thru WiFi which is NOT always available.  Is the OTHER critical mass factor that people will live, increasingly, in urban areas rather than rural areas, and in cheap, thin buildings, rather than in old, thick-walled stone buildings?  

  • Greg

    Not being able to upload music that I already own is just silly. Amazon (where I buy my mp3s) lets me upload all the mp3 that I previously purchased before the cloud service was available, plus music that I have on CD.

    Apple is always about incompatibility. I don’t have any weird ideological issues with Apple as a company, but I always find the limitations and incompatibility issues to be deal breakers on their products.

    • Tina

      It DOES assume that we stole: guilty without being able to prove our innocence.  In MY case, I am innocent; in a relative’s case, she IS guilty — very guilty, because her age group thought everything should be “free”; I always thought that the musicians should be properly compensated.  So, now I don’t like that I won’t be able to listen to my own music I put from CD onto laptop onto iPodTouch(*) — or WILL I be able to listen to it on the iPodTouch, but just not instantaneously thru the cloud?  That is one of the many things I’m still confused about.  Will we have access to TWO modes of listening?  

      (*)  I keep posting that I DID these transfers because it makes my prose easier to read.  I haven’t actually gotten around to doing any of these things that a computer-savvy friend has told me that I CAN do; but now, maybe I won’t be able to anyway — OR will I be able to on my laptop, but not on my iPodTouch, or on an iPhone if I were to get one?  

  • Michael Mac

    Isn’t this just the latest symptom of conspicuous consumption? Another way for the media conglomerates to sell us the albums AGAIN? This looks like a winner for Apple, not for us.

    • Tina

      I thought that they said today that albums would NOT go onto the Cloud?  I’m not sure, though….


    I think if Apple wants to Think Different it would sell there IPhones with no monthly contracts by cell phone companies!! Cut out this middleman and that would be revolutionary in my opinion!!

  • Tina


    I’m confused:  I have The Ken Burns Jazz Album on my laptop.  I put SOME of the songs on it onto my iPodTouch.  I have a Hoagy Carmichael Album on my laptop,and I put ALL of those songs on my iPodTouch.  With the cloud, WHICH of these Albums/Songs will go into the Cloud?
    WILL I HAVE TO USE THE CLOUD, or will I have a choice:  1) on my laptop; 2) on my iPodTouch?Thanks!

  • Rex Henry

    This music “storage” will theoretically never be lost.  Your account keeps a record of your purchases.  I see the storage locker to simply be a link to apple’s collection and a “purchase” gives you access to this collection.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      That’s exactly it Rex. The only issue is when you’re not connected.

  • Chuck Collins


    IPOD Touch connects via Wi-Fi.

    Great Show !

    • Tina

      And it all goes thru iTunes:  mail, Safari, photos, music, everything.  Can you explain more about what you said & what I said so that I will understand what I’m talking about and its implications given this new news from Apple (given that the announcement has not come out yet, too)?  Thanks!

  • Imaginect

    Waste of bandwidth, why utilize the bandwidth when you can download it and carry it with you freeing the bandwidth for necessary streaming content, especially while mobile.

    • Lacser

      Check out instinctiv.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/ericnewberg Eric Reed Lorentzen-Newberg

    Why give Apple so much control?  I already have access to all my music over “the cloud”, using Music Player Daemon to stream music over HTTP.  But it’s on my machine under my control.

  • Jim

    what is the quality of the audio when it comes from the cloud?

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      The odds are it’s not going to be as good as a CD. How far from CD quality (how compressed the file are) we don’t know yet but we should know more next week.

  • JIM


  • SimplyMonica

    I built my own website about 5 years ago to stream my audio collection to myself wherever I was.  Started with Real Audio and have since moved to a home grown streaming engine.  Why do I need Apple?

    I’ve been streaming audio to my phone for years now and I don’t know what I’d do without that ability.  This is how I listen to WBUR from work in Washington DC.

    You won’t find me using any of these cloud services, I have 4 Terrabytes of storage at my house, they aren’t offering me anything I didn’t build for myself ages ago.

    • Tina

      SimplyMonica,  You have 21st Century skills!  I’m the opposite; yet I’d like to convey this to a computer genius friend who loves Apple so much he never would have thought of your solution.  Can you tell us the names of more of the programs that you used thruout your whole enterprise, like which one did you use to build your own website?  OR, do you use Open Source stuff and make up your own programs?  If do you that, do you know what percentage of people are capable of that at various age groups?  i.e., do teens know how to make up their own website-making programs?  If so, can you guess what percentage can do it?  should ALL teens be taught HOW to do this to graduate from High School?  do you know if public schools are moving in this direction?  Or, do you have to be an MIT grad, or a grad of an equivalent school to know how to do what you’ve done?  How many people (%) in their 20s, 30-40s, 50s, 60 plus, know how to do what you have done?  THIS IS A SERIOUS QUESTION, because maybe this is where education should be going, OR, is this kind of skill still only necessary for a certain kind of work which then allows a certain kind of play?  I know that MIT Media Lab has a lot of people who are always trying to Open Source everything rather than having people use commercial computer programs.  Is that where you are coming from, and music listening is a PLUS you get to experience because of your positioning in this broader arena?  THIS IS A SERIOUS, INQUISITIVE SET OF QUESTIONS, but please forgive my probably flubbed terminology!  Thanks!

  • Christian

    What about the simplicity of Rhapsody? For the price of 1 cd/month, you have instant access to most if the music you would ever want.

  • Clamtony

    Mobile and broadband carriers are beginning to throttle bandwidth use, teir the bandwidth with fees, and would be pleased if we become tied to a cloud source for such content.   

  • RFCooper

    One issue with Cloud storage is the restriction of one’s ability to access the Cloud, and one way  that is done is via legal methods (as can happen in France via their 3 strikes policy and then a loss of internet access for life). 
    I’d like to hear the panel discuss how this reality may expand and effect our future, especially in terms of issues not dealing with music.

    • Tina

      Wow!  France is tres severe!  For life?!  I DO believe that musicians should be compensated for their work; yet this is a bit surprising.  Thanks for the info, though!

  • David Pope

    Some of us still listen to music as a singular event of focus.  Many of us  still find vinyl records and a big hifi the most musical way to listen.  When my first iPod failed, I decided to go back to the old way.  I’ve never looked back.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      David, it’s not all or nothing, quid pro quo. I, like you, still have a decent stereo system in my house and while I don’t have vinyl anymore, I have a lot of music on CDs. However, I also rip those same CDs so I can carry more of that music with me on my computer, my iPhone, my iPad. At home, in my house, I listen to CDs (your records) because they sound better but I don’t want to carry all that stuff around with me so I also listen to the same content in digital form. Works well for me.

      • David

        Point taken Richard.  I certainly listen to CD’s and I use iTunes and streaming music in my office (naxos, etc).  I just don’t want to make further sacrifices in quality for convenience.  If I’m truly going to listen, convenience is not a consideration for me.

        • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

          David: you bring up an important point which is, how many people listen to music without doing anything else? Active listening as opposed to passive listening is a dying art. Folks who walk around town with earbuds in constantly while doing errands, even talking with people are not listening actively, they’re using music as background. I don’t do this (I assume you don’t either) as much because I want to actively listen as I am ADD and this kind of multitasking would kill whatever else I’m doing.

          For those who sit down and really listen, audio quality is at the top of the list but for folks who want background music in their lives, portability trumps fidelity.

          I want both because I do listen on planes, in my truck, and when I’m away from home.

  • Anonymous

    Streaming media is not reliable. Even on a T1 LAN line, service interruptions produce hickups in streaming media frequently enough that gives me pause for concern. Futhermore, this will drive up demand for bandwidth of our conummincations infrastructure. Will not the demand for capacity demand investment in that infrastructure and thus drive up costs. The cost of downloading a song over and over again versus just once may be an unwelcomed side-effect. 

    • SimplyMonica

      I could not disagree with you more.  I stream audio every day on a poor quality 3G connection in a huge concrete building.  My cellphone calls break up but the audio streams reliably.  I listen to WBUR, Pulse87, and various other radio stations on my phone from everywhere I am.

      Years ago I would have completely agreed with you.  My old phone had issues streaming.  But I have none of the issues you are concerned about now.

      The key to it is to be on a better network and to use a better piece of hardware.  I use a Windows Mobile phone on the Verizon network and it works fine.

      Also, once the song is in your Locker you don’t have to pay over and over again.  You are not paying per song play/stream, you are paying for the license for the song that you can stream to yourself whenever you want, however many times you want.

      I would bet you are not even getting your own copy of the Audio.  Just a pointer to the Audio that they have stored which would be a better reason to not allow Audio uploads.

      • Tina

        SimplyMonica, Could you explain what you mean by, “Just a pointer to the Audio that they have stored which would be a better reason to not allow Audio uploads.”?  Thanks!

    • Slipstream

      Sounds like a local problem.  In my area and on my computer (fingers crossed) streaming has been just fine.  They will have to increase bandwidth over time, for sure.

      • Tina

        We were at a beautiful waterside restaurant the other day.  The restaurant was retro-fitted into an old Triangle Trade Warehouse.  Slaves had actually been brought into the building from their long voyages, and rum was distilled across the street.  The apex of the Triangle we all saw in school textbooks actually had one of its specific locations RIGHT THERE!  The old brick and stone building that houses the restaurant today is apparently so DENSE that no one can get any phone signals within it, or even just outside of it while sitting at a table under an umbrella.  Then we went across two beautiful bridges to a rural part of our state where, once again, the phone signal was not available, and there was no WiFi at the place we went to there.  Would the Cloud be available under EITHER of these conditions?  Thanks!

        • Tina

          By the way, we were using the new Apple iPhone on a Verizon network.

        • Anonymous

          You realize that with no internet connection, which includes WiFi you would not be able to use iCloud.

          • Tina

            Thanks, geffe!  Sorry that my questions seem so repetitive, but I think you’ve just given me the answer to my most basic question!  So now, with your answer in mind, my NEXT, EVEN BIGGER QUESTION BECOMES:  HOW IS THE CLOUD AN IMPROVEMENT?  As it is NOW without the Cloud, on my iPodTouch, I don’t have to worry about access to WiFi IF I want to listen to music and/or podcasts from my LIBRARY.  Without WiFi, I cannot listen to music I haven’t downloaded yet, and I cannot listen to a new podcast from the OnPoint website, and I cannot open up a new Safari webpage; BUT, if I find out that I am in a spot where there is no WiFi, OR where there is no PUBLICALLY-accessible Wifi, I can happily go to my LIBRARY (I think by hitting he “Music” icon rather than the ITunes icon), and I can listen to my heart’s content to music and podcasts that I’ve already downloaded.  

            So, IF the Cloud needs WiFi, isn’t that GOING BACKWARDS in terms of services and options that are made available to me & others?  Without WiFi, and with the Cloud, won’t I be sitting playing Solitaire in silence? 

    • Tina

      I spend a lot of time at a hospital with Wi-Fi … WHEN someone remembers to make it available — is THAT what is going on when I can’t even open up Safari (I triple check my settings!)?  I usually ask, is your WiFi working, and the people at desks say, “Dunno”.  Will the Cloud be the same thing?  I have a laptop and iPodTouch, but a friend has the new iPhone.  He can use WiFi OR his phone connection, but sometimes the phone connection is too slow to open up Safari.  Where would HE get the Cloud?  Can I get the Cloud thru my iPod Touch?  Will the Cloud be as slow as his Safari on the phone in this one beautiful rural part of Rhode Island where we go often, or will it be as unavailable as the supposedly available WiFi at the hospital?  Thanks.  I’m still confused, but most of my friends would be even more confused.  I’m the Ambassador of Slight Understanding in My World.  I get my Slight Amount of Info from the friend I just mentioned, and Spread the info to very confused other friends.  Talk about Digital Divide!!!  As much as people don’t want to think that there is one, there is:  some based on finances and poverty; some based on age and gender (that cannot be denied, altho there ARE exceptions!)

  • vooey

    Here’s my question: why is On Point doing what is basically an hour long infomercial for Apple?  This is an entirely pointless episode of this show. 

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      While I think onPoint is doing this show a bit early because Apple will announce this service next week, the concept of using a cloud based service to store music and other media on a large scale is a meaningful topic and I’m sure you know that many other vendors are in line to do it too. Google and Amazon are already doing it. I don’t think the show came off as an infomercial but I do think it’s premature given that the details of this service aren’t known yet.

  • Barry

    So in a world that’s crumbling around our ears I have some perceived need to instantly listen to a piece of music in an inferior (compressed) format in a setting where I’m not really able to seriously listen to music, in the process turning even more money and control over to the corporations who own the very air we breathe, and this passes for progress?  Life in a cloud indeed.

  • Christian

    Hi Tom,

    I use Rhapsody for 90% of my music needs, streaming all my music for the price of 1 cd/month. I used to be a limewire user, but would rather pay $10/month to listen to whatever i want, whenever I want. I believe this business model is superior to any icloud option. All you have to do is change your perspective from owning music to renting music.

    • Tina

      But I like really old, obscure stuff.  I don’t TRUST that what I want to listen to will still be available in five years, because I already feel like a lot of my music is not available easily anyway; altho, alternately, lots of stuff that I like IS available — it’s a True Mixed Bag.  I don’t like old stuff so that I can hear my “favorites” over and over; I like old stuff because I like the music of 1910-1957 generally, so I seek out NEW-FOR-ME stuff within those older periods.  

  • David

    What if you have added your purchased CDs to iTunes. What happens if you want to transfer this music (that I bought legally) to the cloud. Is this allowed???

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Probably not. See my above comment.

  • Logan

    I’m just curious as to why On Point is doing this show now before any details of iCloud have been released? Sure, it has been announced by Apple, but any talk of the details is pure speculation.

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Agreed. This is a show for next week.

  • David Cronen

    How about podcasts will i be able to assess spoken word?

    • Tina

      Good question!  Because … I am surprised at how many podcast subscriptions already limit my choices to just THEIR previous seven shows on my iPodTouch.  I’m pretty sure that I have the settings set up correctly.  The main thing is, the communication about what to expect is pretty unclear:  will a subscription give me all podcasts so that I can pick and choose, or will some of the podcasts become inaccessible, as seems to happen now.  

  • Scott

    I’ve lost music to hard drive crashes. I also lost a bunch of LPs one time when my mom moved a crate of vinyl too close to the radiator. All of this is, in the end, ephemera.

  • Chris B

    I’ll stick with CD’s, and to a lesser extent LP’s, thanks.  I want an actual, non-volatile, uncrashable, independent of connectivity physical object for my money.  Which includes artwork and liner notes.  Not to mention the sound quality of either is better than any streamed format.  I rip them for portability to a (non-Apple) MP3 player for travel, true, but at home I never listen to anything but the originals.

  • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

    Sheesh, you can rip CDs lossless, or at any number of bit rates including with the least amount of compression. Your commenters need to speak to that fact. MP3 and ACC are not one size fits all, we can rip thing any way we like.

    How things will come down from iCloud is a different matter.

    • Tina

      Richard, can you explain your comment for The Clueless Amongst Us, like me?  Some terms I don’t understand:  rip, lossless, bit rates, ACC; I get the general concept of “compression”, but can you explain that, too, in this context?  Thanks! 

      • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

        Tina, when you buy a commercial CD the audio is stored on it in an uncompressed form. The genius of MP3 and AAC (compression algorithms) is that they allow you to make a digital copy of the CD such that some of the information is taken away, making the resulting files smaller.

        How much compression (how much information is taken away) determines the size of the resulting compressed files and also their audio quality.

        If you want things really small, they’re not going to sound too good. If you have an iPod/any digital music player that will hold, for example, 16 megabytes but you want to put 1000 songs on that player, you’ll have to rip the CDs in such a way that the songs are very small (and don’t sound all that good).

        This is up to you. You decide, when you rip/digital a CD, how much compression you want. Some of my collected audio is talk and doesn’t need great quality so I usually rip these kinds of CDs so that the resulting files are smaller.

        CDs that I love and listen to all the time I rip with less compression as it will make them sound better. They’ll take up more room on my iPhone but they’re worth it.

        Over time one gets a sense of how to control this kind of stuff so music and talk sound decent on a portable player.

        Again, as above, if I want things to sound their best, I listen on CD or some on vinyl on a decent stereo. But, I travel a lot and having my music digitized is important to me. So, I have both: CDs and digital copies on my computer, iPhone, and iPad that I listen to on planes and when I’m away from home.

        Let me know if you have questions, glad to help.

        • Tina

          Richard!  Thank you VERY much!  That was very clear and very helpful!  I hope you see this thanks from me, because I’m writing a day later!

          • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

            Got it Tina. I came back here knowing folks would listen to this over the weekend and no doubt comment. The comment at the end by Billjanis seems to be very close to what Apple will probably announce and it answers one of your questions from above better than I did (about how Apple will handle music you own but did not buy from them).

            Again, we don’t yet know the details of this announcement so all of this is speculation but the details of rip, mix, burn remain the same no matter what and it’s useful for those of us who digitize our music to understand how that works. Stay tuned…

  • Tina

    Tangible Ownership:  I sometimes DO want that; other times I don’t.  Will we be able to choose anymore if we use iTunes?  I’m still confused.

    Also, regarding vinyl:  not everything went even to CD!  I can’t even FIND some vinyl via Amazon or other internet searches.  MAYBE the Cloud will prevent this IN THE FUTURE; but IF Apple interprets anything without a CD contract as “stolen”, when it might have been converted to digital from vinyl by the owner, then even more great music from the past gets lost!

    I do NOT care about quality of sound vinyl: CD.  I want to hear the MUSIC on my old vinyl that I paid to convert to digital even though the albums never went electronic actually.  WHERE will Apple let me store the electronic version of these albums:  on my laptop?  on my iPodTouch?  

    Tennessee Ernie Sings Civil War Songs of the North; This Property is Condemned Soundtrack; Stanley Melba’s Cotillion Orchestra:  I cannot find these digitally or even in vinyl anywhere.  I don’t know WHY I ever lost the first two; moving, probably.  The third one I do own and LOVE!  

    • Tina

      Oh, I forgot to add:  this is what I don’t get:  IF you thought that converting your vinyl to digital would keep the album safe, so you got rid of the vinyl (I kept some, but don’t have the room for all; some I didn’t convert to digital, so I still have them), and then you put the digital version into iTUnes and people said you didn’t need the CD digital version that you had made for you anymore, and then the Cloud gets hacked, will the digital version still be within your desktop or laptop iTunes library outside the Cloud?  Sorry to keep asking the same question over and over; but I really am NOT computer savvy, as you can easily assess!  

      • Slipstream

        I’m not a pro, but it seems to me that your concerns are legit.  Yes, something could get into ICloud and screw up your account there.  Or your computer could crash and that would be the end of what you had in there (if you didn’t back it up).  My advice would be to keep CDs of anything you really love, and other things you could back up to an external hard drive.  Personally, I still have a big CD collection and have not gotten around to the very time-consuming task of ripping all of it – but my purchases of new CDs has slowed to a trickle.

  • Michael Mac

    Another thought, is anyone asking why we need this? It’s the same thing as ereaders, Kindle’s and iPad’s. What’s wrong with books? What’s wrong with CD’s?

    Not all that glitters is gold, y’all.

    • Billjanis

      Hi Michael,  

      Good question.  We need this because as time goes on, and hopefully quality of media (music, TV, Film) goes up, the storage needed will be MASSIVE.  Eventually there will be NO storage locally.  You’ll own a license to listen to or watch media, but it will be access from another place.  The question is: Is a service like Rdio the real future?

  • SimplyMonica

    I love listening to people romanticize Vinyl.  Have you ever had to move crates and crates of records?  Records are HEAVY!

    I’ve lost portions of my hard drive music collection twice in my life and finally bought a huge hard drive for backups!  :)

    I have a 16 gig card on my phone for when Verizon’s Mobile network is sketchy and I have 3G for streaming audio.  I can tether for free and unlimited bandwidth.

    I doubt that they will have enough music I would want to buy to justify a move to their service.

    • Lacser

      check out instinctiv.com

    • Tina

      SimplyMonica, I think some people like vinyl for the vinyl.  I like my old vinyl records for the music; i.e., some records never made it to CD, yet I ADORE the music that is on these old records, including music by our former next door neighbor, when we were kids, who was a cotillion orchestra leader at the Pierre Hotel in NYC.   I was never a techy in any mode, so my old vinyl records have lots of scratches on them, because I never bothered to change needles (term?).  You are so right!: they ARE heavy, AND way too large.  My former husband has his parents’ collection of old vinyl jazz:  he moves them everywhere he has ever lived.  He cannot play them on the new victrola that I bought, though, because his format is even older than the 33 1/3′s that my old vinyls are.  Other people ARE into the different “sound” you get from vinyl, but that’s not my “thing”.  Thanks for the info about the 16 gig card; I know someone who probably needs to know that!

  • Lacser

    Check out instinctiv.com. great app. allows syncing of personal library across most wifi devices, android etc. More on the way. Also has more cool features. Way better than iTunes.

  • Slipstream

    I haven’t heard the show yet, but I just wanted to point out that this is not new.  Music streaming has been available on the internet for a few years.  I am a satisfied customer of Rhapsody, Real Network’s music service, and there are others too.  It is possible they are adding some interesting features and functions, but let’s not give Apple credit for coming up with this.  Please note my contempt for the use of the word “cloud” to describe internet based applications – does the word “internet” not cover it?

    • Slipstream

      Looking back over the comments, this “ICloud” appears to be more about uploading your music collection to the web somewhere so that you can listen to it or download it later.  Things like that have also been available for a while, I’m sure, certainly for people with the know-how.  I never looked into it myself.

      • SimplyMonica

        iCloud is explicitly NOT going to allow you to upload your music from what we heard on the show today.  The record companies are not willing to sign up to be part of any service that allows what they term pirated music to be uploaded to their service even if you own the license for it.  To them all uploaded music is pirated.

        • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

          I think simplymonica has it. But, what iCloud will probably allow is for the same music to be accessible from multiple devices without having to sync with a cable from one to another.

          How this works and how it will work when we’re offline we’ll find out next week.

  • Billjanis

    I LOVE Onpoint, and listen most days.  This is the one time when the information was simply rudimentary, incomplete, and wrong.  For instance, “your music” can’t be lost by Apple, because your music doesn’t go TO Apple.  They scan what you have and you have access to the master track.  As a matter of fact, if your version on your computer was a lesser quality version (non-iTunes+), it’s “replaced” when you play be a high quality version.  Also, your music collection is not gone if it’s not in your iTunes library.  If you take one of your CDs from you collection, burn it into the library, then it’s available in iCloud.   Also, little talk of the additional features of movies and tv shows being in the cloud, which is not a done deal, but worthy of mentioning, as it is very close to also being deal-done.  There were times when Tom’s questions simply were not answered.  The upside here, to this entire iCloud thing, is the ability to have your music available on devices without storage being needed.  Suddenly, you can have 40 GB’s of music at hand, in a 8 GB iPhone.  

    Additionally, the most popular iPod CAN access the cloud.  This is not limited to iPhones, iPads, and computers (and AppleTV’s).  The iPod Touch is Wi-fi enabled, and it’s the perfect device for this purpose, as you can have it docked attached to your speaker system, and listen to all your music, anywhere where there is wi-fi.  

    Like most improvements, there are uses here that will unveil themselves as the cloud becomes ubiquitous. And lastly, Apple’s design focus will bring this to users in most design conscious way.  

    Again, OnPoint is AWESOME.  It’s just this show that was a disappointment.  

    • Billjanis

      Again, there is no “uploading” of music.  There is a scan of your music.  Your right to listen (the license you bought when you bought the music) is verified, and off ya go! 

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Thanks for this, I agree, this is what the announcement sounds like although there will no doubt be details that we don’t know about yet, like, the possibility of Apple’s Airport routers and Timecapsule backup/routers being used to buffer music and video, maybe even an iOS update to AppleTV (great device) to allow better streaming from a variety of devices (AirPlay).

      AirPlay seems like the one aspect in all of this that ties it all together nicely and I think it’s the hidden gem in AppleTV. I use it all the time from iPhone and iPad to move / re-route what I’m listening to our watching from device to TV. Works like a charm.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=511709762 Scott Schroeder

      Agreed.  HUGE disappointment.  WAY off base with respect to how icloud is actually going to manage music!

      ONLY have songs I purchase?  What a laugh.  Get experts on your show in the future.  The guests didn’t have any idea what they were talking about.

  • WalledGardensSucks

    Android phones have 34% of smartphone market-share (as apposed to iPhone’s 25%).
    There are multiple Google tablets on the market with plenty more coming out in the next year.
    Chrome browser has more than 3 times as many users as Safari.

    All of those Google products (and more) support the marketplace and Google’s new cloud music service, which lets you save 20,000 songs completely for free.

    And it’s already available.

    So why is On Point only talking about Apple’s product as if they are doing it first and best? It’s not even available yet! I don’t see the reason to be this bias when Google has already done it (and they aren’t even the first ones, eg: Amazon’s cloud music service) and has a a higher market share for mobile based products (cloud based music streaming is pointless on desktops with how cheap HDD are now, so only mobile devices really matter in this debate).

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      Maybe because Apple innovates, the rest follow and copy.

      Yes, google and amazon have cloud services but I use both and they suck. I’m not sure Apple’s service won’t suck too but I’m hopeful.

  • manchuriancandidate

    Seems to me that Apple is behind the curve on the “cloud”, even microsoft beat them in promotion.  Plus it sounds like Amazon, MOG, and Dropbox offer better controls with less of the “big brother” treatment.

    sorry apple, I’ll stick with my android

    • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

      We don’t know what they’re going to do yet but already you’re saying they’re behind the curve. I think your bias is showing…

  • Billjanis

    There is a much clearer and more informative segment on Apple’s cloud today on Scott Simon’s Weekend Edition for whomever’s interested.  


  • Fritzbitz19

    If it’s a matter of having streaming music immediately, then we have youtube and GrooveShark for that. Why bother paying for iCloud when you don’t have to?

  • Jalmberg

    Everyone missed the point of iCloud, which is to allow the iPad to break away from the PC.

  • http://richardsnotes.org Richard

    This should answer some questions: http://www.apple.com/icloud/

  • Will
Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

Nine weeks counting now to the midterm elections. We’ll look at the key races and the stakes.

Sep 2, 2014
Confederate spymaster Rose O'Neal Greenhow, pictured with her daughter "Little" Rose in Washington, D.C.'s Old Capitol Prison in 1862. (Wikimedia / Creative Commons)

True stories of daring women during the Civil War. Best-selling author Karen Abbott shares their exploits in a new book: “Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy.”

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Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker Jarvis Jones (95) recovers a fumble by Carolina Panthers quarterback Derek Anderson (3) in the second quarter of the NFL preseason football game on Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 in Pittsburgh. (AP)

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This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

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