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Thursday, June 02, 2011, 01:00 pm PT (04:00 pm ET)

Apple adds Universal as iCloud licensing partner

Apple has signed a licensing deal with Universal Music Group, incorporating all four of the major record companies into its iTunes iCloud music plans.

Citing "sources with knowledge of the talks," CNET reported today that, in addition to Universal, Apple has also reached agreements with "some of the large music publishers."

Apple announced earlier this week that it would feature iCloud at its Worldwide Developers Conference next week, detailing its plans for the new web service.

It is believed that Apple's iCloud will deliver a streaming media repository for users' commercial digital content. iOS 5 is also expected to add new features that make it easy for users to automatically upload and publish their photos, movies, and other content directly from iOS mobile devices.

Apple already offers some basic streaming music and content sharing via MobileMe, but the new iCloud is understood to dramatically expand upon these features and add new ones.

Banners being erected at Moscone Center in preparation for WWDC depict iCloud alongside Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5 as primary subjects of the annual conference.