Amazon is said to be in the final stages of negotiations with record labels over licensing deals that would allow the online retailer to launch a competitor to iTunes Match. It has reportedly reached agreements with Universal Music Group and EMI already, and is now close to wrapping up deals with Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Bros. as well.
According to music industry sources speaking to CNET, Amazon could announce the deals “within weeks.” Although it we can’t be certain Amazon is planning to take on iTunes Match, it certainly seems that way.
Details are scarce as to what new features Amazon’s cloud music service will offer as a result of the license deals, though it’s likely that Amazon may soon be able to match many of the features found at Apple’s iCloud.
Of course, Amazon already offers a similar service. Using its Cloud Drive and Cloud Player products, users can upload their entire music libraries to the cloud and then stream them to their internet-connected devices wherever they may be.
However, the company launched this service without licensing deals with the record labels, and so the only way you can take advantage of it is by uploading all of your music manually first. CNET explains:
Amazon couldn’t offer a similar service [to iTunes Match] because it involves creating and delivering copies of music to users who didn’t technically buy them. Doing so requires a license, say the labels; otherwise, they say, such copies violate their copyrights.
With the necessary deals in place, however, this tedious uploading process would no longer be required, and Amazon would finally have authorization “match” your music library with songs already stored in the cloud.