Hot on the heels of yesterday’s news that Apple was ready to launch its iTunes music streaming service, All Things Digital is now reporting that Apple already has deals in place with two of the major music labels.
The deals are said to be in place with two of four largest labels, Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, Sony and EMI. They do not know which of the two the deals are with at this stage. One of its sources also claim that Apple content boss Eddy Cue will be in New York tomorrow to start finalising deals with the remaining two labels.
The industry executives I’ve talked to haven’t seen Apple’s service themselves, but say they’re aware of the broad strokes. The idea is that Apple will let users store songs they’ve purchased from its iTunes store, as well as others songs stored on their hard drives, and listen to them on multiple devices.
Amazon launched its own music streaming and storage service last month without the approval of the major music labels. The way Apple is approaching the idea is totally different. A licence agreement with the music labels would allow Apple to store a single copy of a song on its server’s, then share that to multiple users who own the music. This would massively reduce the storage levels needed by Apple and obviously reduce costs too.
The success of this service will be down to how much it costs the consumer, both in terms of any subscription pricing and more obviously data costs. Cell service providers seem intent on reducing our monthly download limits. For these type of services to succeed we need to see the return of unlimited data plans!