Apple Close to Deals with Top Record Companies

'iCloud' music service will have label support

It looks like Apple is closer than ever to launching its own music cloud service—with record label support.

According to information obtained by CNET, Apple has signed a music-licensing deal with EMI and is close to finalizing similar deals with Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment, which could wrap up as early as next week. Last month, CNET reported that Apple had reached an agreement with Warner Music Group. This means that by June 6, the date of WWDC, Apple’s annual developers conference, it should have deals in place with all four of the top record companies. CNET’s sources didn’t know when Apple is planning to announce the music service, rumored to be called iCloud, but many of the company’s past major announcements have taken place at WWDC.

Record company support will give Apple’s cloud a huge advantage over Amazon’s and Google’s clouds, which were both released this year, ahead of Apple's. But in their race to beat Apple to the cloud, Google and Amazon launched their services without record deals and face music licensing restrictions as a result. Record companies are now rooting for Apple’s success in hopes that it will eventually force Google and Amazon to pay the same licensing fees.