The EMI Group is close to joining the three other large recording companies in backing the upcoming MySpace Music service, according to two sources close to the negotiations.
EMI and MySpace representatives were "trying to jump some final hurdles," according to one of the sources adding that the companies could finalize a deal in time for the launch of MySpace's new iTunes competitor.
An EMI spokeswoman said only that the "companies were in talks." A MySpace spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on rumors.
The start-up, expected to launch later this week, was formed by MySpace parent company News Corp. and the largest music labels: Universal Music Group, Warner Music Group, and Sony BMG. At launch, the MySpace Music store is expected to offer free streaming music and sell MP3s without copy-protection software, as well as ringtones and merchandise, such as concert tickets.
The obvious upside of an agreement with EMI is that it gives MySpace Music access to EMI artists, such as Coldplay, Ben Harper, and Joss Stone. More importantly the site's image would get a boost if their library doesn't appear incomplete.
MySpace Music will now be able to offer everything it's competitors can.