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Apple readies iCloud, could pay over $100 million for music

Posted at 04 June 2011 13:00 CEST by Justin_Massoud

Apple announced this week that a focal point of its upcoming annual Worldwide Developer Conference on June 6th will be iCloud. Some believe this is the long-rumored, cloud-based iTunes spin-off set to compete with similar offerings from Google and Amazon. New reports lend credence to those expectations and suggest the successful hardware manufacturer could end up handing over more than $100 million to the recording industry in the process.

The New York Post reported on Friday that three unnamed sources told them it would cost Apple nearly $150 million to receive the blessing of four top music industry labels for the venture and avoid any possible litigation. Another anonymous executive told the outlet that the service would initially be free for iTunes users, with a possible $25/year charge attached in the future.

CNET later countered The Post’s iCloud article, citing an insider source who dismissed the claim that Apple would be making advanced payments.

In April, it was discovered that major players in the music industry were in talks with Apple about the music locker service, with a couple labels already on board. This week news broke that Universal Music Group and Apple had finalized a deal related to iCloud.

Everything is in place for the company to launch the iTunes successor, which, thanks to the licensing agreements, will have something Google’s Music Beta and Amazon’s Cloud Player services do not: official support. But are consumer even interested?

A survey conducted last summer found that millions of iTunes users would likely pay up to $10/month for access to a cloud-based streaming music service, and considering the continued popularity of iTunes it’s likely Apple could stand to grab a huge share in the burgeoning cloud market.

Are you already using Google or Amazon’s cloud music players? Waiting on iCloud? Or just uninterested in the concept? Let us know in the comment section.

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