Last Tuesday Apple announced its long-awaited iCloud service, one of whose functions is to allow users to replace the files in their computer's iTunes library with high-quality streams hosted on Apple's servers for a flat $25 fee, no matter the provenance of those files. The same day local retrophiles the Numero Group issued a short statement on their blog explaining that users will not find the label's offerings on iCloud. It reads, in part, "The simple reason is that Apple and their major label 'partners' have created a reward system that is both incomprehensible in scope and totally out of sync with iCloud's streaming peers' (Rdio, Spotify, et al) financial mechanics. As we have been entrusted with an incredible wealth of creative assets, and our primary responsibility is to our partners; the artists, producers, and songwriters that make up the Numero catalog, we feel that Apple's pittance is an insult not only to them, but every other musician, living or dead, and, if the latter is the case, their heirs."
Today tech blog Ars Technica posted a more thorough explanation of Numero's position from co-owners Ken Shipley and Rob Sevier. Their problems with Apple's deal lie in iCloud's no-questions-asked policy for matching MP3s, which is an especially big deal for a small label that frequently sees downloads of its albums from file-sharing sites like Rapidshare exceed the number actually sold. They claim that even if Numero got a chunk of the $25 each iCloud user pays to replace collections containing Numero material, it wouldn't be worth the trouble—and they're pissed that Apple seems to be rewarding pirates but not musicians and songwriters. "There's no way that we're not going to see matching that exceeds what we're selling legitimately," Sevier says. "I don't think that any of this will even filter down to artists. It doesn't matter what kind of label it is, it's just going to be an administrative mess dealing with all these micropayments. There's no way it's going to cover the hourly wage of someone working in the accounting department to even deal with."