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In his column today, Walt Mossberg tackled the buzz around the latest trend in digital music: online storage.Aside from pointing out the obvious (the new trend is to store your music in an online locker and stream to your mobile device), the best point Mossberg makes is where the future really is.
The problem with new online services like Amazon’s Cloud Player and Google Music is that you have to upload your songs to an online locker. If you have a massive library, it could take days to get all your songs online.
Instead, the better option is what Mossberg calls the “scan and match” method, where the service takes a look at the songs stored on your hard drive and allows you to stream them for free.
It’s similar to what Europe’s amazing Spotify music service does, and likely what Apple will have when it launches it’s own online music service later this year with the blessing of major music labels.
It looks like Apple will adopt this model too. It has already made deals with two of the major record labels, Warner and EMI, and is working on snagging the other two.
Even better, Apple has a patent that will make streaming to your mobile device almost seamless by storing a tiny bit of each song on your phone to avoid lag.
It’s nice that Amazon and Google are generous with their free online music storage, but if they hope to last against iTunes (and eventually, Spotify), they’ll have to get the record companies on board too.