Apple aims to launch iRadio at WWDC 2013, rushing deals with music companies

By Randell Suba , Jun 03, 2013 08:28 AM EDT

Apple is doing everything to iron out every detail of its iRadio service it plans to launch during the upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) that kicks off June 10.

The iRadio will be a free streaming music service that will depend on advertisements. There will be a paid version that will not have ads. The concept is just similar to how Pandora does things but Apple has been struggling sealing a deal with music publishers and labels.

Paul Sloan of CNET distinguished the iRadio from Pandora. The Apple music streaming service is designed for mobile devices and will be linked to the iTunes. Unlike Pandora, users of iRadio will be able to rewind a track and will just be a click away from purchasing the songs they like.

According to a report on New York Times, Apple finalized a deal with Warner Music for music publishing and music rights. In May, the manufacturer of iPhone also sealed a contract with Universal Music. These are big steps bringing the iRadio closer to its launch but Apple is still struggling with its licensing negotiations with Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV.

Music publishers get about four percent from music sales on Pandora and most likely these labels are looking on greener pastures if they can rake in as much as 10 percent with their deal with Apple.

The streaming music is getting more and more competitive with services like Pandora, Google All Access that has been compared with Spotify, and now Apple joining the rumble if it can hammer a good deal with Sony.

It is not clear what Sony is asking Apple for before it signs any papers but both companies would not comment about the ongoing negotiations.

"We're making a lot of money from this explosion in Internet radio, the Pandoras of the world. You can see Apple getting ready to get into it," said Doug Morris, the CEO of Sony Music Entertainment at the moment and considered god father of the music industry, during an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek in February.

The man who has been in the industry since the time of the Chiffons and still at it at the time of Adele cannot be wrong with the online music streaming business that has roughly an annual sales of $5.5 billion.

Dealing with its last hurdle to launch iRadio this month, Apple is on the table with Sony Music Entertainment, headed by a 74-year old executive who knows the complexities of the music business. If Apple gives in to whatever Sony wants, there is a good chance that it will hear from Warner and Universal.

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