Reuters: Apple set to launch cloud-based music service ahead of Google (update)

It's the rumor that wouldn't die, and Reuters is now reporting that Apple is finally set to launch a cloud-based music service -- presumably putting its massive North Carolina data center to some real work at long last. Details are still fairly light beyond that, but Reuters says that Apple's service will actually launch ahead of Google's similar cloud-based option, which it reports is now "stalled," citing "several people familiar with both companies plans." According to Reuters, the service will let folks store their music (and only music, apparently) on Apple's servers and then access it on any device with an internet connection -- and a copy of iTunes, we presume.

Update: Peter Kafka, over at All Things Digital, backs up Reuters' claim with some additional detail. Unlike Amazon's approach with Cloud Player, Apple is actively seeking to license the music for its streaming service before launching. According to Kafka's sources, Apple has already secured deals with two of the big four labels and plans to launch "pretty soon." The deal would allow Apple to store a single master copy of a track on its servers and then share that track with multiple users. As Kafka describes the service, "The idea is that Apple will let users store songs they've purchased from its iTunes store, as well as others songs stored on their hard drives, and listen to them on multiple devices."