iCloud cost pegged at $25 per year, all 4 major labels signed
As the WWDC 2011 keynote draws near, more details are emerging about Apple's new iCloud service. According to sources "familiar with the negotiations" who spoke with the L.A. Times, Apple plans to charge $25 per year to use the service, with a free trial period for those who purchase music through iTunes. The company might also sell ads to be served on iCloud, and users will (still) be able to stream their music to any computer with a Web browser or an iOS device. The Times did not specify whether iCloud would include other, non-music-related services.
As recently as yesterday, Apple had reportedly not yet signed a licensing deal with the last of the Big Four music labels, Universal Music Group. That has apparently changed Thursday, with the Times reporting that Apple has indeed wrapped up its deals with the labels and plans to complete its agreements with music publishers on Friday.
"The agreements, finalized this week, call for Apple to share 30 percent of any revenue from iCloud's music service with record labels, as well as 12 percent with music publishers holding the songwriting rights. Apple is expected to keep the remaining 58 percent, said people knowledgeable with the terms," wrote the newspaper.
Rumors from earlier this week claimed that Apple was considering making certain parts of iCloud free to Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion) users, and that the company was stepping up its efforts to bring movies and TV to the cloud service. Since the WWDC keynote is just over one business day away, however, it seems unlikely that there will be a video component to iCloud upon its initial launch. Apple is doing a good job of feeding the rampant speculation before Monday, though—just check out that tantalizingly nonspecific cloud icon being set up at Moscone West this afternoon.