Big four music labels

Apple inks deals with 2 music labels, 2 more set to sign

May 19, 2011: 7:56 AM ET

Google and Amazon suffer a setback as the music industry, once again, puts its trust in Steve Jobs

CNET's Greg Sandoval, who reported last month that Warner Music (WMG) had signed a deal with Apple (AAPL) to make its content library available on a new music streaming service, broke the news late Thursday that EMI had also come on board and that deals with Sony (SNE) and Universal could be wrapped up as early as next week.

If this plays out as Sandoval predicts, Apple may be in a position to announce at its Worldwide Developers Conference on June 6 that it has done for music stored on third-party servers (A.K.A the "cloud") what it did for music stored on personal computers: Persuade the big four labels -- who control 80% of the U.S. music market but whose revenue stream is being drained by music piracy -- to put their faith in Apple.

It was on the strength of the deals Steve Jobs signed with the labels nearly a decade ago that iTunes became the world's largest music store and the foundation on which Apple built the iPod into a multibillion-dollar hardware franchise -- one that now includes the iPhone and the iPad.

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