Apple has reportedly reached agreements with three of the four major music labels, and is close to reaching one with Universal - the fourth. Bloomberg BusinessWeek cites "people with knowledge of these deals" as the source of this information, and reports that new cloud plans could be unveiled at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference next month.
This comes on the heels of reports that Facebook is looking to beef up its presence as an online music destination. The social network, which recent estimates have at about 700 million users (tough for anyone to contend with), is said to be in talks with several existing online music services, though Spotify is the only one that has been named (and is still unconfirmed).
Google of course unveiled its Google Music Beta a couple weeks ago. Not long before that, Amazon launched the Cloud Player. mSpot, just this week, added a new spin on things by taking Pandora-like Internet radio recommendations and adding them to the user's existing music collection. In other words, users will hear music that is similar to the music in their collections, while also having that actual music from their collections thrown into the mix.
Apple is uniquely positioned to be an enormous player in the emerging cloud-based segment of the online music space. Obviously it has iTunes, iPods, iPhones, and iPads, which give it some tremendous advantages. Then there's the deals with the major labels - something Google has famously been unable to get done, which has led to a great deal of disappointment around the Google Music launch, though things could always change by the time the service gets a proper launch. It's still just in invitation-only status.
While there's nothing official yet, most people on the web have been referring to the pending service from Apple as "iCloud".
Of course, Apple isn't commenting on the deals.