Cloud-based iTunes could be for storage, not subscription streaming

Spotify wipes brow

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Music industry sources have told the FT that Apple is set to allow iTunes users to store music content in the cloud and stream it to multiple devices.

There have been rumblings of a cloud-based iTunes since early last year, but a launch could be on the cards to coincide with the iPad 2 reveal on Wednesday 2 March.

The latest insider tips suggest that Apple doesn't intend to go up against traditional streaming services like Spotify, as customers would only be able to stream tracks that they already own.

One reason for this, according to the insiders, is that Apple is loathe to 'undermine the market that it dominates for paid downloads'.

Cloud nine

When news broke last week that Apple had a new data centre to house iTunes and MobileMe, it added fuel to the iTunes cloud fire.

Apple confirmed that the new data centre will be up and running by the spring, which also seems to support a March announcement.

One of the Financial Times' sources described the iTunes cloud plan as 'insurance'; whether this is because it means that a user's digital purchases remain even if all its physical devices go missing or as insurance for the company against services like Spotify is unclear.

There's been little talk of whether this will be a free or premium deal, but we'd hope to see at least a small amount of storage made available at no cost. Then again, this is Apple we're talking about.

Hopefully we'll find out more about the company's plans, including whether or not the cloud storage will include movies and e-book content as well, at Wednesday's event.

Via FT and SlashGear