The UK is always behind the USA so this won’t come as much of a shock to many readers today. Apple’s iCloud service won’t launch in the UK until early 2012.
A spokesman from the Performing Rights Society issued the statement saying that negotiations with Apple about rights in the UK are at a very early stage.
They said “The licensing team at the PRS have started talks with Apple, but are a long way off from any deals being signed…It is very much the early stages of the negotiations and is similar to the launch of iTunes – which began in the US and took a while to roll out to other countries.”
No one from Apple, Universal, EMI, Sony or Warner Music has yet to comment on the situation in the UK, with the BPI saying they refused to comment on “commercial negotiations about specific services prior to launch”. The USA deal has been kept fairly quiet, with no details being made public after Apple struck the deal with the Big Four US music companies.
Many people have been discussing the ‘music match’ feature which allows tracks, not purchased by Apple (yes even illegally) to be matched up against Apple’s library. When a match is made, the tracks will be added to the user’s library and made accessible to the listener in exactly the same way as those legitimately purchased through Apple’s iTunes. In theory a user could have an illegally downloaded 128kbit rip of an album, and iTunes will send them a 256kbit version, free of charge.
Thinq have a good theory, in that Apple will pay a small fee to the music owners when a track is ‘replaced’ and in exchange artists and record labels are getting some money back from pirated tracks for the first time ever. Obviously the exact amount would need to be kept as low as possible so Apple aren’t spending billions a year on replacing potentially illegally downloaded tracks, but in theory it could work.
KitGuru says: It will be interesting to see how this pans out, and hopefully the UK won’t have too long to wait. The American audience will have access long before the UK market even has finished arguing ‘over who gets what’.