This sounds like a great enhancement to the MobileMe service - IF streaming times are fast enough to supply the on-demand desire. If it takes an 'extended' period to download a song from my cloud, I might be more inclined to pre-load it the old fashioned way. I hope Apple doesn't change MobileMe too much with the expected enhancements and then jack up the price. It's a great value currently, but too much more, and I'll pass. That's just me though.
Brilliant idea and far better than what Google or Amazon offer.
With Google/Amazon I first need to upload my music collection to them, and depending on how much music I've got that's going to take some time. Once it's uploaded, I'm going to have to pay for storage of all those GB's they're keeping for me.
With Apple, any song I have that's also part of their catalog doesn't need to be uploaded - it'll play straight from the main copy on their servers instead. With Google/Amazon, you could literally have the same song stored hundreds of thousands of times over - one copy for each person in their own private "music locker". Not very efficient, IMO.
Without any deals signed with the labels, Google/Amazon aren't going to be able to make a single copy of a song and stream it to every user who has this song in their "music locker", so they can't get around this "storing one song numerous times" issue. So Google/Amazon will require far more server storage than Apple to provide could music.
And with Apple, I can still upload my own content if I wish. The big difference is that of my 30GB of music, probably 25GB will already be in Apple's servers and I'll only need to upload the remaining 5GB of my own stuff. Much easier to do, and I'm going to pay less for storing 5GB than 30GB.
So I get the best features of Google/Amazon (my own music locker & streaming to anywhere) without having to upload everything I've got or pay a larger storage fee.
Hate on Apple all you want, but they got this one right.
Music is listened to by a much wider audience than geeks and technical people, and it is these "other people" who determine the success of Apple iPads, iPods and Mac Computers because they get the 10 hours of Video, the 10 hours of Music or the 6 - 10 hours of Computing. (which they paid for).
They want "easy purchase" and "easy pay", now give them "easy play" and you have a winner.
Because it works like it says on the side of the box!
It's like they took all the hate from computing and mashed it all together.
Apple: Closed walled orchard.
Sony: Rootkits, false advertising, well, you know this paragraph could probably fill half the internet so I'll stop here.
Cloud: Online backups make sense, and seriously hungry algorithms, but office apps, really? and letting you see my files unencrypted just for kicks & hacks? Nyet.
I'm not sure they left anything out - I mean, there's DRM, streaming instead of DL to burn our bandwidth, region locking.