Media

Apple is removing cloud music apps from the App Store

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[This story has been updated with additional information below...]

In the latest example of Apple’s fear of competition, the company has removed a third-party app from its App Store that allows people to access music stored on Amazon’s Cloud Drive.

Amazon’s Cloud Drive is a direct competitor of Apple’s iCloud service, which stores a variety of content — music, books, photos, contacts, calendars, and more — associated with a person’s Apple ID account and pushes it to all their iOS devices.

While Amazon doesn’t have a Cloud Drive iOS app, development company Interactive Innovative Solutions (IIS) has developed an application, called aMusic, that will allow iOS device owners to access Amazon’s service. However, the aMusic app was recently removed due to legal issues with the music industry, according to a report from Evolver.fm.

Unlike both Apple’s iCloud and Google’s Music Beta services, Amazon’s Cloud Drive doesn’t catalog all the licensed music in a person’s account. But cataloging is important to music labels because it enables them to take a cut when people upload copyrighted music to their account. Since Amazon isn’t lucrative for the music labels, the labels had no problem contacting their buddies at Apple to get any Cloud Drive app or service removed.

Normally, I would just blame the music labels for this mess, but Apple is also delaying an update to IIS’ Google Music Beta app, gMusic. “I submitted it 2 weeks ago. Every other update I have submitted within the 2 weeks has been approved in under 8 hours. So not sure what the deal is,” said IIS’ James Clancey in a statement to Evolver.fm.

I can’t entirely blame Apple for its behavior, since it clearly has no incentive to allow its customers to use a competitor’s music service like Music Beta or Cloud Drive on iOS devices. Doing so would give people a reason not to sign up for Apple’s iTunes Match — a $25-per-year music service that provides legal access to any songs currently in a user’s iTunes music library.

At the same time, it is getting a little ridiculous for Apple to keep cutting off all potential competitors in the streaming media front out of fear that it would take business away. Yesterday, I reported on the ridiculous lengths Apple has gone to to stop iOS customers from viewing streaming video service Hulu on a television set.

I highly doubt Apple’s hardcore fan base is going to stop using Apple services just because there are competitors available. Perhaps some of them will, but not enough to make a significant impact on business decisions.

Update: Mashable is now reporting that it wasn’t Apple who yanked the aMusic app. Oddly enough, the developers of the app pulled it from the App Store at the request of Amazon. More than likely, Amazon was worried about copyright licensing issues — not Apple.

We’ve contacted Amazon for further comment about the situation, and have yet to hear back from the aMusic app developers.

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