EMI and Apple sign iTunes cloud deal

Tim Grey
19 May, 2011
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Apple’s cloud-based iTunes service is one step closer to becoming a reality, with the company signing a licensing agreement with music publisher EMI. Two other major players, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, are days away from coming on board, according to ‘industry sources’ that spoke to CNET.

Should the companies come to an agreement within the next week, Apple will be in an excellent position to unveil its new iTunes music locker at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 6.

Apple has been secretly working on the new cloud-based music service for some time, building a massive, 500,000 square foot data centre in North Carolina at an estimated cost of US$1bn.

While what the new iTunes cloud service will actually do remains unclear, it’s a technology that would allow Apple to offer streamed music by subscription, or even almost-instant access to the master recordings of music stored on users’ hard drives.

The service is likely to be known as iCloud, as Apple recently purchased the name from Norwegian company Xcerion for US$4.5m, according to AppleInsider. The service is unlikely to simply provide music storage, but will perhaps operate as a rejigged version of MobileMe, allowing users to sync calendars, contacts and other files.

Macworld Australia will be reporting live from WWDC, so stay tuned for all the latest details.

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