updated 07:40 am EDT, Fri May 20, 2011
Apple has Sony for iCloud, only Universal waiting
Apple's deals for its cloud music service, tentatively part of iCloud, gained momentum overnight after mentions of a third label deal. Following Warner and EMI, Sony has also reportedly signed onboard. Music industry contacts reiterated to Bloomberg that Universal was also close to a deal, though they added that publishers still needed to sign on along with the labels.
The tips also reinforced views that iCloud was a general cloud syncing service where music was just one part of the content. Contacts, photos, and other files would still sync up with the service, tipsters explained. Whether or not the pricing or the model for syncing would change is still an unknown, though it's increasingly suspected that Apple's effective withdrawal of MobileMe under current plans would lead to a significantly different system.
Apple is rumored to be making more of its services free to better compare against Android, where mail, contacts, calendars and most other information is free.
The music side might be a higher priority for Apple and something it would want ready in time for WWDC in early June, where iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion are both expected to show. Apple might want to demo the service live and would need the rumored upload-free music matching, derived from its buyout of Lala, to make it complete. iCloud would also be a quick rejoinder to Google Music Beta that would not only match its streaming but one-up it with more features and a quicker public release.