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Apple's Cloud Music Service ThisClose To Becoming Reality

Apple's Cloud Music Service ThisClose To Becoming Reality

May 24, 2011
Apple has begun negotiations with music publishers for its cloud music service, according to CNet. However, time is running out for Apple to complete deals prior to its Worldwide Developer Conference that begins June 6. Following up on our earlier report, to date, Apple has signed up three of the four top music labels, including Warner Music, EMI Music, and Sony Music. The fourth and largest, Universal, is expected to sign on the dotted line soon. However, only recently has Apple begun talks with music publishers, who actually own the rights to songs’ underlying compositions. Luckily, little divides the two sides in terms of money. Still, the service could still be delayed for a number of reasons. First, Apple needs to negotiate with each of the large music publishers individually and time is running out. Despite getting close to signing all of the music labels, Apple would be dead in the water without gaining the publishing rights. According to CNet:
Let's take for an example the longtime hit song "Twist and Shout." If a digital retailer wants to sell The Beatles' cover of that song, the merchant must pay EMI and Apple Corp. (the company that represents the band) for the sound recording of the Beatles performing that tune. The retailer would then have to pay whatever publishing company represents Phil Medley and Bert Russell, the men who wrote the song's words and music, what is known as mechanical licensing fee. If the retailer wanted to sell the Isley Brothers' version of "Twist and Shout," Medley and Russell would collect again.
Second,  although the money separating Apple and the publishers is small, the process could still drag out. Third, given that cloud services are new, anything goes. In other words, Apple is negotiating on the fly since there is no precedence. Therefore, a last-minute snag is possible. Finally, there is the issue of music labels vs. the publishers. Apparently, there is must friction between the two groups. However, is there? Says CNet:
A source from the recorded-music side said that the labels who have licensed Apple have negotiated only what their songs are worth and if Apple is unwilling to pay the publishers' price, the publishers don't have to provide licensing. The source suggested that this is a negotiating ploy and that Apple is trying to pit the labels and publishers against each other.
We’ll find out very soon whether iCloud becomes a reality on June 6, or if it is delayed. What do you think? Leave your comments below. [Photo: Yolande Larkin]

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