More than a year since launching its cloud service without the benefits of music licensing, online retailer Amazon is close to securing publishing deals with the major labels, according to a report on CNET.
According to the report, Amazon is in negotiations with Sony Music and has already made deals with Universal Music Group and EMI; a source told Billboard.biz that Warner Music has inked a deal as well. UMG and EMI offered no comment to CNET on the reported transaction.
Amazon surprised many -- including the record labels -- when it launched its unlicensed cloud service last March ahead of competitors Google and Apple. At the time, a Sony Music spokeperson told Billboard.biz that they were "disappointed that the locker service that Amazon is proposing is unlicensed..." But Amazon Director of Music Craig Pap argued that, "We don't believe we need licenses to store the customers' files. We look at it the same way as if someone bought an external hard drive and copy files on there for backup."
But without the music licenses, Amazon users are forced to undertake the arduous task of uploading their music into cloud storage themselves, unlike Apple's more efficient scan and match service which is able to operate with licenses from the labels.
The news comes as yesterday Amazon announced its Cloud Player app would be available on Apple iTunes for iOS-enabled iPhone and iPod Touch. With this recent spate of ramping up both availability and usability, Amazon clearly sees growth opportunities ahead for its cloud storage service.