Our US sister site CNET News has heard from music industry insiders that Apple is planning a free online streaming service. iTunes.com could allow you to stream your purchased music to any computer, or even to your phone. If you can't wait for Apple to go ahead with any streaming plans it might have, we take a look at some of the services that already do just that.
Our good friend at CNET News Greg Sandoval interviewed Michael Robertson, boss of mp3tunes.com, a music storage and streamage site offering an online 'locker' in which you store your bought music. He reckons Apple is set to launch a competing service, with or without record-label support.
While a free service would be a blow to the paid versions of alternatives such as Spotify, there is a subtle distinction between streaming your own music and streaming music from a library. You've been able to stream your own music over the Web for a good while now, with just a bit of elbow grease. Sites such as Deezer and Orb offer free streaming, while Maestro.fm even has an iPhone app to stream your tunes from home to handset. And there's Lala, recently purchased by Apple. Not all sites work in the UK, unfortunately.
Still, the iPod wasn't the first MP3 player, but it is the one that put digital music in the pockets of the masses. As a one-stop shop for buying tunes, managing your iPod and listening to music, iTunes.com could do the same for streaming.