The venerable Apple-branded music locker in the cloud is virtually a go as Apple has apparently signed a streaming agreement with record label EMI, CNET’s Greg Sandoval reported yesterday evening. Multiple industry sources told the publication that the remaining two labels are about to sign on a dotted line:
Apple has signed a cloud-music licensing agreement with EMI Music and is very near to completing deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment.
Those talks could be completed “as early as next week”, sources say.
It was previously reported that the iTunes chief Eddy Cue was touring labels to secure support as the cloud locker service was technically completed and ready for launch.
Apple is actively seeking licenses for its service, and will pay the labels for the privilege.
And sources tell me that Apple has already procured deals from at least two of the big four labels (Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony and EMI) within the last two months. One source tells me Apple content boss Eddy Cue will be in New York tomorrow to try to finalize remaining deals.
“They’ve been very aggressive and thoughtful about it,” says an industry executive. “It feels like they want to go pretty soon.”
Should this pan out as the sources suggested, Apple should have the necessary agreements with the four biggest record labels in place ahead of the June 6 developer conference in San Francisco. The company might announce its music locker with the music industry support at that venue, conventional wisdom has it. Some watchers also think labels will use their partnership with Apple as a leverage against Google and Amazon who launched their respective cloud lockers without the necessary licensing agreements.