In what is potentially a game changer amidst the rush of web companies to launch cloud storage services. It is expected that later today Apple will announce that it has done a deal with all four major record labels to license their music to use on its cloud storage service. Universal Records finally agreed on a deal which sees it joining Sony, Warner Music and EMI in a deal which may be one of the most influential moves in recorded music history.
It is also believed that Apple has secured a deal with all the major label’s publishing divisions which had previously been a sticking point in discussions. The deal is expected to give publishers 12% of cloud revenue rate, with the major record labels securing 58% of revenue, which will leave Apple with the remaining 30%.
The service is expected to be announced later today, but it will not yet be immediately available. Initially, only music purchased from iTunes will be eligible for storage in the music locker, however, music sourced elsewhere (and potentially pirated) will eventually be able to be stored on the service. A figure of $25 per year is being bandied around as the annual fee to use the service.
Industry speculation also suggests that Apple paid an advance of $100 – $150 million to the major labels in total to get the service off the ground, although it will only begin negotiating in earnest with thousands of smaller independent labels once the service is launched.