updated 07:20 pm EDT, Fri May 20, 2011
Apple close on Universal, publishers due soon
More detail slips emerged on Friday that Apple was about to wrap up deals for its cloud music offering. Universal, the last to go through, was "about to sign" its agreement. Publishers were still unsigned, but the AP source said their deals were due to wrap up "soon."
Like earlier tips, they expected the remote streaming to be showcased at WWDC in early June. Whether or not it would go live wasn't mentioned.
Apple's deal is considered significant as it remains the only major firm offering cloud music to have gone through with negotiating deals. Amazon for its Cloud Player launched a raw service that requires uploading music by hand, leaving negotiations until after the service went live. Google had tried to negotiate for a label deal with its Music service for the better part of a year but gave up on more advanced plans after it refused to bow to label requests for secondary royalties.
The rumored Apple feature, possibly a part of a wider iCloud service, would match songs in iTunes collections against its own library and stream its own copies, saving the time and bandwidth needed with Amazon and Google. Apple might end up charging listeners, though Amazon only gives away 5GB of space for non-Amazon MP3 music and Google has said it might still charge for Music once out of beta.