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Report: Apple to pay music labels big advances

The company has agreed to pony up to each of the four largest record companies between $25 million and $50 million in advance royalty payments, according to the New York Post.

Apple will pay up to $150 million in advance royalties to the four major labels for iCloud music rights, according to a published report.

Apple iCloud logo
Apple iCloud logo

The maker of iTunes has agreed to pay each of the top record companies between $25 million and $50 million each in advance royalties, the New York Post reported today.

The report, however, has been disputed by a source with knowledge of the talks, who told CNET that Apple is not making any advanced payments.

Earlier this week, Apple announced that it will unveil at its Worldwide Developer Conference next week a new service called iCloud. While Apple has not offered any specifics about what iCloud will offer, CNET and others have reported that Apple has talked to the labels about a cloud music service for over a year and will unveil music-related features at WWDC in San Francisco on Monday. Yesterday, CNET broke the news that Universal Music Group had signed a licensing agreement for iCloud, becoming the fourth and final major label to sign on.

Apple previously had negotiated cloud deals with Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI Music. It is still in licensing talks with the major music publishers.

The iCloud is expected to offer users a means to store their iTunes-purchased music on the company's servers and then access those tunes from Web-connected devices. Sources told CNET yesterday that streaming music won't immediately be made available on Monday and that Apple has plans to someday store songs users obtained outside of iTunes.

The Post also reported that the size of the advance payments is what stalled negotiations between the labels and Google, which launched an unlicensed cloud storage service in recent weeks. An unlicensed service is much more limited because of copyright concerns. But Google and labels continue to negotiate, and the search company could launch a licensed service by September.

Update: 12:05 p.m. PT To include information from a source that disputes Apple paid advances to the labels.