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Apple Sign Cloud-music Licensing Agreement with EMI Music, Near to Completing Deals with Other Industry Leads

CNet’s Greg Sandoval is reporting that Apple has signed an agreement with music label EMI to offer its music through Apple’s upcoming new cloud music service. This means that Apple now has agreements in place with two of the four major labels (Warner already signed last month). And Sandoval believes that deals with the remaining two, Sony and Universal, could be wrapped up as early as next week. Again, rock and roll.

The licensing agreements will enable Apple to launch a fully licensed cloud-music service to rival unlicensed offerings of rivals Amazon and Google.

Apple now has the freedom to offer a range of features that rivals are prevented from rolling out because of the licensing restrictions, the sources said.

One example is that instead of requiring users to spend hours uploading their songs to the company’s servers, as Google and Amazon do, Apple could just scan a user’s hard drives to see what songs they own and then provide them almost-instant streaming access to master recordings. The process is sometimes referred to as “scan and match.” The music service Lala, which Apple acquired in December 2009, made this process famous.

One of the core features of a cloud music service is enabling consumers to store their songs on the companies’ servers. They can then access their libraries from Web-connected devices.

The negotiations with Sony Music Group and Universal Music Group could be wrapped up as early as next week, the sources said. What this means is that signed contracts with all four of the top four record companies will be in Apple’s hip pocket on June 6 when Apple kicks off the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The sources who spoke with CNET did not know when Apple would announce the deals or roll out the cloud service.

Representatives from the labels as well as Apple declined to comment.

[Source: Media Maverick]

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