AP Source: Apple nears music deal with labels

May 20, 2011 - 6:14 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Apple Inc. is close to securing deals with all four major recording companies on a music service that will allow users to stream songs stored on remote computer servers, presumably to an array of portable Apple-made devices, a person familiar with the matter said Friday.

Such a service would give people a wide array of music on-the-go, without having to worry about limited storage space and the need to physically connect different devices to transfer songs.

Universal Music Group, a division of Vivendi SA, is about to sign a deal that will give Apple the right to stream songs to its customers, although how exactly the service will function is unclear, the person said.

The cloud music service is likely to be unveiled at Apple's annual developers' conference in San Francisco, which gets under way on June 6. Agreements with the units of the recording companies that collect songwriting royalties have not yet been completed but are expected to be finalized quickly, the person said.

The person was not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.

Universal is the largest and last recording company to sign a cloud music deal with Apple after the maker of iPads and iPhones cut deals with Sony Corp.'s music arm, EMI Group Ltd. and Warner Music Group Corp.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment.

Bloomberg News earlier reported that Apple had reached agreements with Sony, EMI and Warner and that Universal was close to a deal.

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AP Business Writer Rachel Metz in San Francisco contributed to this report.