A big Yes, according to Jeff Price in this blog entry on their tunecore.com company blog. Because, not only will all previously legally obtained music be availabe in the cloud – regardless of whether or not it was purchased via iTunes and in this way driving exposure of music -, it might also offer an opportunity to make a secondary or even tertiary revenue source from the mere fact of being listened to. The magic formula for this is based on a simple fact: Existing copyrights and permissions legislation. Because for every composition/song/track next to the copyright there exists a public performance right, which must be paid for. In the case of Apple’s iCloud there was no clear decision or communication made as to whether or not a streamed content is eligible for payment according to the public performance right. But whether or not streamed music content constitutes a public performance, there is still revenue from the song being streamed (as is the case now with some of tunecore.com serviced online stores).
Then why didn’t someone else do this earlier? According to Jeff’s reasoning none of the known online players has the brute market share and thus power as Apple do with 225 Mio. customer accounts – and each of them with a convenient credit card in hands – to convince existing copyright owners, which due to the catalogue will be major labels for the most part – that they are getting a piece of the pie (as they already did with the iTunes store to begin with). As far as the independent artist is concerned: You are the holder of all copyrights and publishing rights as well as public perfomance rights – meaning to say: You’re the direct beneficiary of whatever revenue shakes out at the bottom of the iCloud. May it be gold rather than rain 🙂