If the CNET report is true, Apple only needs to close deals with Sony Music Entertainment and Universal Music Group now before it secures unprecedented, legitimate access to music from all "Big Four" labels.
In March, Amazon launched its cloud music locker without such rights and faced threats of legal action; it is now reportedly in talks with the labels to secure licensing agreements. Google launched Google Music at its Google I/O event a couple weeks ago.
In April, CNET reported that Apple had inked a deal with Warner Music and "at least one of the remaining three" major music labels. Apple has not officially acknowledged the development of a cloud-based music storage service, but speculation is rife after reports "confirming" the development with unnamed sources. Furthermore, the company recently built a massive data center in North Carolina, reportedly meant to host a video streaming service.
Apple Corps and EMI have finally decided to release sonically upgraded reissues of 12 Beatles albums from the period between 1963 and 1970 in both stereo and mono. They will debut on Sept. 9, the same day the Beatles’ Rock Band video game is to come out. The collection will be on a total of 16 CDs and include “Rubber Soul” and “Magical Mystery Tour.” Downloadable versions have yet to have a release date but the matter may also be settled by the September deadline.
Read More | NY Times
Wow. The best deal in music just got a whole lot better, as Microsoft has announced that the $14.99 per month Zune Pass will now allow subscribers to download and keep 10 tracks per month, which is a $10 value. Those tracks are yours, permanently, even if your Zune Pass subscription comes to an end. Participating labels include EMI Music, Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner Music, and independents like INgrooves, Independent Online Distribution Alliance, and The Orchard. Tracks downloaded from Sony BMG and UMG will be DRM-free MP3s, which tracks from EMI and Warner also include MP3 files, there are also some WMAs still hanging around. The Zune guys say that soon, 90 percent of the music in the Zune Marketplace will be in the MP3 format.
So when you break this down, if you subscribe to the Zune Pass, and download 10 tracks a month, you are really just paying $5 for unlimited access to the huge catalog of music available in the Zune Marketplace. We can’t think of a better, legal deal in music than what Microsoft is offering with Zune right now. Can you? At this point, we see no reason to fire up iTunes to do our music purchasing.
EMI has decided to offer their music directly to consumers with an online Web portal. Not only will they offer tracks and videos, there may be some freebies and non-EMI artists as well. The label says that it is doing this to collect customer behavior data and may use something akin to Pandora, which recommends tunes based on what music the user already prefers. We find this a fine idea, not only because it might cut costs in the overpriced and ailing CD sales market, but also isn’t it nice that someone may actually be listening?
Read More | Daily Tech
Universal Music will begin releasing singles on USB memory sticks October 29 to compensate for the decreasing sales of CDs. The first releases will be those by the rock band Keane and Pussycat Doll Nicole at a price of ~$10.00. The company is counting on the slightly more expensive price as being agreeable to consumers because of the additional storage space. EMI plans to release Pink Floyd’s studio album on the same format, while Warner is planning a November release of the electro-punk band Hadouken.
Read More | Times Online