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'iRadio' announcement may miss WWDC, say sources

updated 04:03 pm EDT, Fri May 17, 2013

BMG said to be among industry holdouts

Apple's mired negotiations with the music industry may prevent it from announcing an "iRadio" service at WWDC on June 10th, industry sources tell The Verge. The people note that Apple is having trouble not just with Sony/ATV, but also BMG. At the same time they suggest there's still a lot of "market momentum" behind iRadio, and that major players such as Universal want to see it launch as soon as possible.

The sources suggest that Google was able to launch All Access earlier this week by opting for a more standard music subscription service, similar to rivals like Spotify or Rdio. That meant that terms were mostly already established. Apple is said to be opting for a hybrid web/radio service, similar to Pandora but with some on-demand functions. As a result, iRadio negotiations had to begin at zero.

Google is, moreover, reportedly paying advances to some major copyright holders, whereas Apple allegedly has a history of disliking advances. The sources say that at least initially, it didn't offer any for iRadio, although it is offering a cut of ad revenue, a per-play fee, and a guaranteed minimum.

Another possible issue is that a Spotify-style service is seen as more lucrative to record labels than something like Pandora. If iRadio didn't have some key differences, it may have been a non-starter.

iRadio talks have been ongoing for some time. Previous reports have indicated that Apple may have been in a position to announce the service at several major events, but that talks with record labels have always held things up.




by MacNN Staff

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