Apple is still at an early stage in negotiating with licensing groups in the UK and isn’t likely to launch the music features of iCloud, including iTunes Match, until 2012. Comments from the Performing Right Society (PRS) were backed up by a major record label executive, according to London-based The Telegraph.
Apple introduced iCloud earlier this week during a keynote address at the company’s annual World Wide Developer Conference. iCloud offers a host of document hosting and syncing services, including the ability to have most of your iTunes purchases (music, apps, and iBooks) synced to any and every Mac and iOS device you have.
While iCloud is free, the company also introduced iTunes Match, a paid service that will also synch the music in your library that came from sources other than iTunes (i.e. CD, other online services, or music stolen through piracy).
For the U.S., Apple secured licensing for iTunes Match and the free iTunes syncing service through record labels in the U.S., but such rights have to be negotiated on a country-by-country basis, even in the European Union, where music rights are not universal. Such negotiations take time, which was why the iTunes Music Store itself was rolled out in the U.S. first, and then brought to other markets later.
“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,” the group told the newspaper.
An unnamed record executive added, “Tentative talks have begun between the major labels and Apple in the UK. However, all talks are at the really early stages and no one expects to see the cloud music service live on this side of the pond until 2012.”
Apple has not yet announced plans for iCloud in the UK, and the company didn’t comment for the story.