When Apple purchased Lala a few months back, the first assumption was that we would see a mobile streaming version of iTunes some time in the not too distant future. Things haven’t exactly zipped by on that front, but with the site closing down at the end of this month, most people assume something is about to be announced, possibly at the World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June. The thing you have to wonder is if Apple didn’t possibly drag its feet a little too long.
Google’s I/O conference wrapped up for this year with the announcement of two musical services that would stream music to your Android-based mobile devices. The first was mSpot, which would allow you to upload your music to their servers and then stream it to any Web Browser, Android phone and, eventually, devices on other mobile platforms. Definitely a threat to anything Apple may be cooking up.
The second announcement came on the second day of the conference, and that was that Google had purchased Simplify Media. I’ve been following this company since its early days where the concept was that once you installed it, you could see the iTunes libraries of your friends, and so long as their computer was on, you could listen to the music in their libraries. I fell out of using the service some time ago, but apparently it expanded into sharing other media also. It appears Google’s plan is that using a desktop app, you will be able to stream your personal iTunes library to your Android phone via another mobile app you install. Why ever sync music to your mobile device again?
So, here we are, waiting for iTunes to do something, anything, and not a peep comes out of Apple. Meanwhile, Google and other companies are going hog wild on the idea of streaming your music to you when, where and how you want it.
The thing is, no matter how much of a lead these companies may have, none of them are as associated with music as Apple is today. Apple could come out a year later and people would still flock to it simply because of the company name associated with the product. When, or if, Apple ever does launch a streaming service, its success is almost guaranteed unless they do something really crazy with the product that makes it far too restrictive to use.
The only thing that isn’t in doubt at this point is that music is definitely becoming the new mobile battleground. Everyone wants a piece of it, but I don’t think this is going to be a battle won by whomever was first, it will be won by which ever solution is the simplest, easiest and most hassle-free.
What say you? What are you looking for from a music streaming service on your mobile device?