Further Speculation Looms Over Apple's New Streaming Music Service

Further Speculation Looms Over Apple's New Streaming Music Service
Since the first generation of iPods were released back in 2001, MP3 players have completely changed the way the average person listens to music. Now, the developers at Apple are looking to take the next step in revolutionizing your access to your music collection.

Numerous sources are reporting that Apple is planning to launch a new streaming music service, which will allow users to access their iTunes libraries remotely from any device with an Internet connection. This cloud-based format has two distinct advantages for the consumer: the ability to back up all music files online and the freedom to access them at any time, with or without an MP3 player handy.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the service is tentatively being called iTunes.com. The framework for this browser-based format comes from Lala, the streaming music website that Apple bought out back in December.

Various sources have put drastically different timelines on when the service will be made available. According to an insider interviewed by CNN blog Brainstorm Tech, it could be ready by next Wednesday; the Washington Post, however, puts the launch date closer to the summer.

In order for this service to become official, Apple will first need to clear it with the major recording companies. Talks have apparently begun with the four major labels (Warner, EMI, Sony and Universal). Apple is claiming that cloud-based access to music libraries will be the "value add" needed to stimulate sales of downloads. What's more likely, of course, is that users will use their Internet-based music libraries as a way to share their record collections with others.