Apple finally joins the cloud music game

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It seems Apple has decided to shake things up in the world of cloud music. Amazon and Google unveiled their offerings first, now Apple is ready to join the party.

According to a New York Times report, “The company has signed contracts with Sony Music Entertainment, EMI and the Warner Music Group to license those labels’ recordings for its new service. It is still negotiating with Universal Music Group, the largest of the four labels, but that deal could be finished as early as next week.”

Online retail giant, Amazon launched its music offering, Cloud Drive, a few months ago beating Apple and Google to the punch. Google introduced its offering a few weeks ago with Google Music. Both offering cloud storage to music which can then be accessed through the web or on an Android device.

The iPod maker’s offering will allow iTunes users to store songs on a remote server, which they can then access later from anywhere with an internet connection — smartphones, computers and tablets.

It is rumoured that the service is likely to be presented at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, which opens in San Francisco on June 6 and which has been the venue for past launches of high-profile Apple products.

Google Music, which is in beta, is invitation-only for the moment and does not sell songs. It only allows users to upload the music they already own to Google servers.

While Amazon and Google may have gotten the jump on Apple in taking music to the cloud, the tech giant appears poised to launch a more comprehensive service.

Apple’s secret weapon is without a doubt iTunes, which boasts more than 200-million customers and has sold more than 10-billion songs.

Amazon and Google launched their music services without agreements with the four major record labels: EMI Music, Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and the Warner Music Group — citing licenses were unnecessary as the music uploaded belonged to users already.

While allowing for music purchases through iTunes, Apple’s agreements with the record labels and the publishers should give users instant online access to their existing iTunes music libraries.

Having negotiated agreements with record labels will give Apple an edge in the cloud music game as well allowing users of the cloud product access to existing libraries.

The New York Times also cited that Apple’s cloud music offering may be integrated with its MobileMe subscription service which allows Macintosh owners to access files stored on Apple servers.

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