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Apple music locker “ready to go” as iTunes chief signs deals with labels

Contradicting yesterday’s report by Reuters that Apple’s cloud music service is a go – but without the necessary support from record labels – Peter Kafka reported today on the Wall Street Journal’s MediaMemo blog that at least two out of four major record labels have signed on the dotted line. The rumored service will let you keep your music in the cloud and stream it to any authorized device.

A source told the author that iTunes boss Eddy Cue, who appeared alongside Timothy Cook and Rupert Murdoch at The Daily introduction last February, is said to be on a tour today in New York in order to seal the remaining deals. Take it from an industry executive:

They’ve been very aggressive and thoughtful about it. It feels like they want to go pretty soon.

The report contradicts all the previous reports which implied Apple couldn’t come to terms with labels over the royalties. Read on…

Record labels, past stories tell, insisted on too high a fee to let the leading music service offer a digital locker service allowing users to upload songs bought from the iTunes Store as well as their own music obtained elsewhere. Industry executives apparently feared such an offering could entice illegal sharing and piracy. Growing frustrated with stubborn labels, Google reportedly scrapped their cloud locker plans. That didn’t bother Amazon which recently launched a free of charge unlimited cloud locker for music without labels’ approval. That has allegedly caught shocked labels flat-footed as they were thought to be contemplating legal actions.

Last week, we heard a new rumor that Hewlett-Packard was also considering launching a cloud locker of their own, also without labels’ approval. Those developments may have played into Apple’s favor and accelerated some labels’ decision to greenlight the iTunes cloud locker. As the saying goes: If you can’t beat them, join them.

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