Apple Inc. has reached terms with major recorded-music companies to allow it to launch a digital locker service that would be more robust than those currently offered by Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.
According to these people, deals with three labels have been completed, and the fourth, with Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, is likely to be signed this week. Apple has signed deals with Warner Music Group Corp., Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment and EMI Group Ltd.
The approval of the record companies is key to launching the service, but it isn’t all Apple needs. The publishers also have to be on board. Talks with them are less evolved, though The Wall Street Journal does expect many major players to have struck a deal with Apple by the end of the week.
More interesting, perhaps, is that CNet is reporting that Apple is also in talks with major movie studios:
In the past several weeks, Apple executives have stepped up their attempts to convince some of the major Hollywood film studios to issue licenses that would enable Apple to store its customers’ movies on the company’s servers, two sources close to the negotiations told CNET. Apple began discussing a cloud service with the studios over a year ago.
That’s quite the launch, especially for a new locker service. You’ll remember that both Google and Amazon have launched their own online storage lockers for music, but they both require you to upload your music (movies aren’t supported at all). Apple’s solution would, theoretically, recognize what you have purchased on iTunes and make it available in the cloud.