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Rumor: iTunes In The Cloud Will Let You Backup Your Music Collection, Stream It

At a shareholders meeting yesterday, Apple clarified its position on the massive data center they’ve been building in Maiden, North Carolina confirming that launch is set for a Spring 2011 and it will to host the iTunes and MobileMe services. Many, however, have speculated in the past months whether the move of iTunes to the cloud would bring a new way of streaming songs and albums sold in the iTunes Store through a monthly subscription, or an easy-to-use way of uploading your personal media to the cloud.

According to a new report by the Financial Times, the iTunes online service will simply function as a backup solution for your music collection, which will be available over the internet on all Apple devices.

Apple, which rocked digital music services such as Pandora, Rdio and MOG last week by announcing plans to keep 30 per cent of all revenues from subscriptions taken out through its App Store, has clarified its plans for using remote storage, known as the cloud, according to several music industry executives.

More than a year after buying Lala, a cloud-based digital music service, Apple is now looking to use the cloud mainly to allow users of its iTunes store to back up their collections and access them from any Apple device.

One person with knowledge of Apple’s plans said the company did not want to undermine the market that it dominates for paid downloads, likening its plans for the cloud to “insurance”.

Rumors surfaced in the past weeks suggested Apple was working on a new version of MobileMe that would work as a “locker” for your personal media, stored in the cloud and accessible from all your Mac and iOS devices. Such a system would not compromise Apple’s lead in the digital music distribution market, but would let users upload their music to an online service always available. In the meantime, Google is rumored to be finalizing the details of its Google Music service for Android devices, and European company Spotify is reportedly nearing a U.S. launch after closing deals with major music labels. Spotify lets you stream any song available in the service’s online library through a monthly Premium subscription; it appears at this point that Apple is building the exact opposite, a cloud service that will let you backup / stream the songs and albums you already own.

References of a “MediaStream” service found in the iOS 4.3 SDK suggested Apple might be working on a new platform to allow users to stream their media from the cloud to iOS.

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