"Apple, the reigning heavyweight of the music business, may have solved [the]…conundrum [of moving music to the cyber cloud]," Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports, adding that Apple "has reached agreements with three of the four major music labels and is close to reaching terms with the fourth," according to the publicaton’s sources.
The article continues, "The company could preview its cloud plans as early as June at Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. The music industry will be watching to see whether Steve Jobs & Co. have discovered a way to quell the deep anxieties of the music biz while creating a flexible, easy-to-use service that isn’t too expensive."
The story adds, "Apple’s music service, which Engadget and other tech blogs are already calling iCloud, might well represent the future of recorded music. Armed with licenses from the music labels and publishers, Apple will be able to scan customers’ digital music libraries in iTunes and quickly mirror their collections on its own servers, say three people briefed on the talks. If the sound quality of a particular song on a user’s hard drive isn’t good enough, Apple will be able to replace it with a higher-quality version. Users of the service will then be able to stream, whenever they want, their songs and albums directly to PCs, iPhones, iPads, and perhaps one day even cars. And the music industry gets a chance at the next best thing after selling shrink-wrapped CDs: monthly subscription fees, à la Netflix (NFLX) and the cable companies. ‘We will come to a point in the not-so-distant future when we’ll look back on the 99¢ download as anachronistic as cassette tapes or 8-tracks," says Russ Crupnick, a music analyst at NPD Group.’ "