updated 04:45 pm EDT, Fri May 20, 2011
Apple iCloud music publisher talks said procedural
Apple's remaining talks with music publishers for its cloud music should be very straightforward, sources mentioned Friday. Now likely to have secured labels, it was already known to need deals with each label's corresponding publisher but isn't expected to face trouble. The company doesn't have any "theological hurdles" with publishers and hadn't reached a deal only because of who it had to approach first.
Separate negotiations are necessary as some artists, like The Beatles, have publishing rights separate from the label that helped produce the record.
The main issue left is a matter of payment for the extra licenses. Both sides were "engaged," but the price could dictate whether or not Apple charges users extra and how much. Rumors have surfaced of the cloud service carrying a fee later on. Google has hinted it might charge for its Music service once it exits beta, but its own service is limited versus Apple's and amounts to a music-focused cloud storage space.
Those within the music label system understood and reinforced common beliefs that Apple was aiming to either deploy or unveil the service, possibly called iCloud, in time for WWDC in early June. Apple has already said it planned to switch on its North Carolina datacenter for iTunes and MobileMe services in the spring that many have taken to mean both the cloud music and revamping MobileMe as part of the iCloud transition.