Amazon is close to agreeing deals with all four music majors for its controversial cloud music service, according to CNet. It claims that Amazon has already secured deals with Universal Music and EMI and is in the latter stages of negotiations with Warner Music and Sony, with agreements to be announced “within weeks”.
The deals, should they materialise, would be a major boost for the Amazon Cloud Drive, which launched unexpectedly – and without label licences – in April 2011. The surprise launch meant that Amazon was the first major player to offer a cloud music service, beating Apple’s (fully licensed) iCloud by some two months.
Launching without licences, however, meant that the Amazon service was limited in its offer. While iCloud users could scan their hard drives to identify their music, which Apple could then match and stream from iTunes, Amazon Cloud users were forced to upload songs individually. It is thought that obtaining licences from the majors would allow Amazon to match many of the features currently found in iCloud. The recent collapse into bankruptcy of MP3tunes illustrates just how fraught and uncertain this area currently is.
Meanwhile, Amazon yesterday launched an Amazon Cloud Player app for iPhone, which ties into Cloud Drive. Users can stream their library of songs from Amazon’s servers or download songs to store locally on their iPhone for offline play.