Hewlett-Packard apparently believes there is still room for another player in the cloud music space.
HP is in conversations with the major record labels about launching its own digital music locker service, which would offer music, movies and TV shows, according to Billboard magazine. Speculation that HP had plans for a cloud service has been heating up since Precentral.net reported in April that a confidential PowerPoint presentation about the forthcoming TouchPad mentioned a previously undiscussed HP Music Store and HP Movie Store.
HP's marketing department may have gotten way ahead of the negotiators this time; sources said the discussions are still in the very early stages.
Despite having to follow heavyweights Apple, Amazon, and Google into the cloud, HP has been dabbling in the music business for the better part of the past decade.
In 2001, HP released a digital-music/computing appliance called the HP Digital Entertainment Center de100c that allowed consumers to download music from the Internet and play it on a home stereo.
In 2004, HP partnered with Starbucks to launch a new music-centric coffee store in which customers would be able to create their own music compilations from a digital library and burn them to CDs.
In 2009, HP teamed up with hip-hop impresario Dr. Dre on Beats Audio, a premium line of laptops, headsets, and software designed to reverse the drop-off in sound quality brought on by the onset of digital music.
In early 2010, HP partnered with Ominfone to distribute the U.K. music provider's MusicStation service on PCs sold in Europe. The service boasted unlimited access to more than 6.5 million DRM-protected music tracks from the four major recording labels.
HP began laying the groundwork for a cloud music service since June 2010, when it acquired Melodeo, a start-up that specializes in music applications and services for mobile devices. At the time, the Seattle-based company was working on an app called Nutsie that would run on several mobile platforms and give users a way to wirelessly transmit music from the iTunes library on their computer to a mobile device.