Apple has reached agreements with three major record labels to let users of its new music service access their song collections from handheld devices via the Internet, according to the Bloomberg news service.
It says Apple has completed work on the new service and will beat Google and Amazon.com in the bid to launch a comprehensive cloud streaming music service.
The iTunes cloud-based service will initially offer users the ability to buy, store and stream favourite songs and albums wherever they have an Internet connection. Australian users are likely to have to wait until deals can be struck with the Down Under record companies.
The scheme differs markedly from Google’s BYO music plan in which users would have to upload their existing music files to the cloud and after that would be able to listen to their songs on any device connected to the Internet.
Warner Music was reportedly the first to reach a cloud deal with Apple more than two weeks ago, followed by EMI and Sony Music more recently. And Vivendi’s Universal Music, the largest music company in the world, is “within days of putting pen to paper on the new cloud service,” according to a Reuters report.
The plans could be previewed at Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference – or WWDC – slated for June 6.
Apple is already the largest US music retailer, thanks to its iTunes service for buying music online as well as adding existing records to a collection.
It has been building a new $1 billion datacentre in North Carolina, which will apparently accommodate the new music service as well as Apple’s existing MobileMe service on which Mac users can store pictures, contacts and back-ups and access them from the Web.