Apple iMusic Could Land Warner, Universal Deals Soon

CNET reports that Apple may secure deals with Warner Music and Universal Music Group next week for a Pandora-like music streaming service dubbed "iRadio." The report states that the deal between Apple and the two labels could end up "far sweeter" for the music industry than what they're getting from Pandora.

Unnamed sources close to the negotiations claim that Apple will pay Warner and Universal a per-stream rate that's half of what Pandora pays. However, the new streaming service is expected to offer new revenue streams previously not provided on iTunes, including a quick way for the listener to purchase a song they hear, and new audio ads that will be injected into the free service.

Sources warn that the deals with Warner and Universal are not set in stone, and negotiations could still fall apart. But Apple is reportedly determined to get them signed on, so the service can be rolled out this June along with the much-rumored iPhone 5S smartphone. Apple wants iMusic up and running in a dozen territories including the UK, France, Germany, Australia and Japan.

Could iRadio suffer the same fate as Ping? Not every Apple invention succeeds as the highly-pushed music-focused Ping social network revealed. It lasted for just over two years, similar to Twitter and residing within the iTunes client. It was not only limited on a global scale, but the service couldn't be accessed on competing platforms like Android and Windows Phone.

That said, iRadio will face the same issues if it's directly tied to iTunes. Android, Windows Phone and even BlackBerry device owners will simply be able to stream music through Pandora, Slacker Radio and other services, and purchase music from the platform's respective markets. Apple's iRadio, then, would seemingly only focus on iOS users.

CNET reports that iRadio isn't the actual name of Apple's upcoming music streaming service. It's currently dubbed as a "new streaming service" even though iRadio is rather catchy. It will be similar to Pandora in presentation, offering music listening that's not on-demand. But it will also have unique features like the ability to jump back to the beginning of a song.

Sources claim that Apple and the labels are still hammering out what will be the revenue share of the ads. The labels are looking to reel in 35 to 45 percent in turn for reducing the per-stream licensing fee.

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Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • Bloob
    Using Nokia Music atm, it's pretty nice. Available for Win 8 in some countries.
  • wildkitten
    When iTunes was first released it was available only on Macs. When they made the Windows version that is when it took off. iTune's history shows Apple is willing to develop for other platforms.

    One thing Apple should do with iRadio is make Windows Phone and Android Apps. They still have a good partnership with Microsoft so there shouldn't be any issue making a Windows Phone one, and with Google's open store, nothing prevents them from making an Android one.

    One thing Apple should resist the temptation of is to try to use iRadio as a lure to entice people to the iPhone. A new product would not do this, especially with Pandora and other services already so well established. However, if they make a good service with iRadio and make it available to as many as fiscally makes sense, this will only be a benefit to the consumer. Good competition always is.
  • del35
    I dont want iCrap near me. Be warned!
  • benben_41
    Huh I didn't know they were this close to doing it! I'm using Torch Music and I really like so I don't think this will be relevant for me but we'll see.