Universal Music Group Lone Holdout for Apple's iCloud

Apple has been busy signing up major recording companies to its cloud music service, but Universal Music Group seems to be the lone holdout, reports said today.

Apple reached licensing deals with Sony Corp.'s music division, EMI Group and Warner Music Group, but Universal Music Group, the largest recording company, still hasn't signed on, according to Bloomberg News. However, Apple is getting close to a deal and its cloud service could be ready to launch as early as next month. (However, Apple would still need to reach agreements with music publishers, which control other rights.)

Apple is going about its cloud music service differently than Google or Amazon by securing licensing agreements first, according to AppleInsider, and that its rumored "iCloud" service will be more than just music storage. There's also a belief that it will mean a complete overhaul of MobileMe, as mea culpa to its mobile users.

Apple is surely benefiting from watching the mistakes of Google and Amazon's cloud music services and learning what not to do. It also can only help its business by going forward with the service with licensing agreements already in hand. While I'm not sure if any cloud music service will be necessary for anyone, Apple may be creating a better product -- at least by not requiring users to give up rights to their downloads or existing online collections.

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