Apple unveils new cloud-based music storage service

Apple Inc chief Steve Jobs yesterday unveiled a cloud storage system for songs that fans buy legitimately through iTunes. The service could finally get music lovers to pay for the songs they obtained through less-than-proper means say analysts.

Besides offering to freely distribute new and old iTunes purchases on all of a user's devices, the Apple chief also unveiled a new service, "iTunes Match," that will scan users' devices and hard drives for music acquired in other ways, store it on distant computer servers and allow them to access it anywhere. The $25 a year service will be launched this fall.

According to analysts, the service underlines a well-known fact that most of the music on iPods, iPhones and iPads was ripped or swapped.

Apple struck a deal recording companies that would net them than 70 per cent of the new fees, in 'making the most of a bad deal' in the backdrop of the losses they suffer from illegal reproduction and distribution.

In cases where Apple is able to identify and match songs from its 18 million-song database, it would transfer them into the user's iCloud, a storage area housed on servers, including those at a massive new data centre n North Carolina.

"The chances are awfully good that we've got the songs in our store that you've ripped," Jobs said.