Don't Make Me Wait

<div style=”text-align:center” markdown=1> ![iCloud] (http://content.chatswood.org.uk/photo/2011/06/icloud.png) </div>

This week Apple announced their new iCloud service, and one facet that particularly intrigued me was the availability of iTunes in the Cloud. I’ll let Apple describe the concept:

With iCloud, the music you purchase in iTunes appears automatically on all your devices. You can also download your past iTunes purchases. Where you want, when you want.

This seemed like it would save a lot of headaches for me. I currently keep a stash of over 100GB of MP3s; over 9000 individual tracks; over 28 hours of listening. Ripping it all was a labour of love. The files are stored on a NAS drive and I keep a copy of every song on each of my 3 Macs1. I also have a number of iOS devices to get the music onto.

So this is what I do every time I buy a new CD:

  • Rip, encode and tag the CD on my Mac Pro;
  • Copy the files to the NAS;
  • Import the files into iTunes on my Mac Pro;
  • Copy the files from the NAS to my Mac Mini;
  • Import the files into iTunes on my Mac Mini;
  • Copy the files from the NAS to my MacBook Pro;
  • Import the files into iTunes on my MacBook Pro;
  • Sync the files from iTunes onto my iPhone;
  • Sync the files from iTunes onto my iPad;
  • Relax.

If we are to believe Apple’s marketing material, this should soon be simplified to the following actions:

  • Rip, encode and tag the CD on my Mac Pro;
  • Copy the files to the NAS (simply as a backup);
  • Import the files into iTunes on my Mac Pro;
  • Allow iTunes to send info on the new files up to iCloud;
  • Relax (while the new tracks are synced automatically to my Mac Mini, MacBook Pro, iPhone and iPad).

In fact, with this level of convenience I’d almost be tempted to just buy the tracks through iTunes in the first place and forget about the hassle of ordering, ripping and storing those old-fashioned CDs.

Not so fast…

If you go to Apple’s UK iCloud page there is an asterisk in the service description:

With iCloud, the music you purchase in iTunes appears automatically on all your devices. You can also download your past iTunes purchases.* Where you want, when you want.

This asterisk informs us that the service is “Starting in the US”.

This is disappointing in itself but emerging reports from the UK press now suggest a delay until 2012:

A spokesman for the Performing Right Society (PRS), which ensures that composers, songwriters and music publishers are paid for their work, told The Telegraph, that negotiations with Apple about ensuring rights in the UK had started but were at a “very early stage”.

How long do these publishing companies think it is acceptable to treat their customers with such contempt? Why do they get away with treating some territories as second-class citizens?

I pay for my CDs the same way that someone from the US pays for their CDs. Why does the US citizen get access to that music through Apple’s iCloud service and I don’t?

The answer I expect is probably going to come down to some excuse about the fact that I don’t own the music I bought, I simply licensed it. I’m just not quite sure when I agreed to that license. It doesn’t say anything on the CD case. I bought the CD under the same conditions that someone in the US bought their CD under. How come their license is different?

For now I guess I just have to look on enviously while my US counterparts enjoy the iCloud. Hopefully the outlook will be cloudy for us in the rest of the world in the near future.

  1. Yes, I could probably stream songs to the machines from the NAS, but I like having an offline copy of the music on the machines.