iTunes streaming service launch 'imminent'

Apple signs deals with major record labels

Apple could be about to launch its long-rumoured iTunes streaming service, according to reports.

All Things Digital reports that Apple is seeking to sign deals with all four major record labels - EMI, Universal, Warner Music and Sony BMG - before the service goes live.

Amazon launched its cloud-based music-streaming service, Amazon Cloud Player, at the end of last month. However, some of the major record labels were reported to be angry that Amazon had not agreed new deals with them before going ahead with the launch.

Apple seems to want to make sure that the majors are all happy before launch, according to the report, and the company's content boss Eddy Cue has already sealed deals with at least two of the labels, with further discussions to take place today.

Reuters separately reported this week that Apple had virtually completed work on the iTunes streaming service, though that no deals had yet been agreed with the majors yet.

None of the labels nor Apple have officially commented on the reports.

There have been other signs recently, though, that Apple was aiming to get a cloud-based offering ready for launch. Kevin Timmons, a former Microsoft exec has been recruited by Apple for his expertise in building data centres within tight schedules and budgets.

Earlier this month, Macworld reported that Apple had bought 12 petabytes (12,288 terabytes or 12,582,912 gigabytes) of storage space from Isilon Systems.

However, whether Apple is preparing for a US-only launch or to hit several markets at once is another matter entirely. Presumably, Apple would need to sign different content deals for different territories, so it's possible that UK music fans might still have a while to wait.

This story, "iTunes streaming service launch 'imminent'" was originally published by Macworld U.K..

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