A leaked presentation slide exclusive to PreCentral suggests that Hewlett-Packard is developing a cloud locker for music and movies for its webOS-drive TouchPad tablet. What’s best, HP doesn’t seem to be terribly interested in co-operating with record labels on the initiative:

According to that slide, the TouchPad will come with a music syncing solution built-in that utilizes cloud servers to sync and remotely store your music. More than that, it will leverage a “smart algorithm” to ensure that the music the user is most likely to listen to is cached locally on the device. This service will also allow TouchPad owners to stream music that they don’t yet own. There’s also mention that this service will allow you to stream music to HP smartphones, presumably once they too are updated to webOS 3.0 like the TouchPad.

This is actually good news for Apple…

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After Amazon launched its web-based music locker and player for Android (iOS apps is still nowhere to be seen), it was immediately noticed that users can upload any song to the cloud, not just the MP3s bought from Amazon. Record labels were reportedly shocked by the development and considered legal actions. The music industry feels it’s entitled to collect royalties from companies like Amazon over services that let users store ripped tracks. Google has allegedly grown so frustrated dealing with the labels that they’re said to be considering scrapping their music service entirely. Apple is expected to unveil own cloud-based media locker at some point, part of cloud iTunes.

MobileMe users can already store and stream music tracks to their iOS devices using the free iDisk app even though Apple isn’t advertising this feature. Third parties also offer similar cloud storage capabilities, including Dropbox and Mozy. The more big names in tech release cloud lockers without asking for the music industry’s permission, the less maneuvering space for the labels.

Of course, Apple is the biggest player in music and they will be scrutinized more than any other company, but the case is building for cloud lockers and it seems to me there’s nothing music executives can do about it. After all, it’s our own personal music collection and we should be able to store it wherever we like without being penalized by the greedy labels.

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