Apple’s iCloud Music Service Not Likely Available Internationally Until 2012

One of Apple’s big announcements at WWDC 2011’s keynote was the iCloud music service. Offering cross-device syncing as well as iTunes Match for checking your non-iTunes bought music and adding it to the cloud, iTunes in the Cloud is just one aspect of the very exciting iCloud. While users in the United States can expect the service to go live in the Fall when iOS 5 ships, those living outside the US could be waiting until at least early 2012, according to business insiders.

A spokesman for the Performing Right Society, a group responsible for ensuring musicians and other creative types of the music world get paid, told The Telegraph that negotiations with Apple over the situation are at a very early stage on the international level…

“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.”

A similar line came from an executive at one of the UK’s big record labels, with the news that nobody expects to see Apple’s iCloud music service to launch in the UK until next year.

“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.”

Unsurprisingly, neither Apple nor the other parties involved in the negotiations have officially commented, though Mark Mulligan, vice president and research director at Forrester Research, suggests that the UK contingent is waiting to see how its US counterparts deal with the situation – Will they see a drop in revenue as a direct result of the move to the cloud? If they do, UK labels won’t want to join in.

“Apple’s cloud music service will not launch in the UK until at least quarter one of 2012. These types of negotiations take a long time… For one thing the UK arms of all the major record labels are biding their time and waiting to see how the service affects download sales in the US before they sign up to anything.”

iTunes Match will cost US customers $24.99/year and will take all the music obtained outside the iTunes music store and upload it to Apple’s servers (unless already there – in which case Apple’s version will be used).

If the UK is not expected to see the service go live until 2012, it’s a fairly safe assumption that the rest of the globe can expect a similar wait – news that will no doubt disappoint plenty of Apple fans.

But hey, we’ve always got Spotify!