Apple set to unveil iRadio music streaming service
APPLE is to unveil its own music streaming service following a series of deals with major music groups.
A deal with Sony Music means the iPhone maker now has arrangements with three groups in place, clearing the way for it to make a major announcement tomorrow.
The agreement will set Apple’s much-hyped “iRadio” service, also featuring music from Universal Music and Warner Music, in competition with existing services such as Spotify and Pandora.
iRadio is expected to be an extension of iTunes and will be a free service, backed by advertising, that streams music according to the listener’s preferences, based on their existing library.
Apple’s music service would take information about users’ existing iTunes libraries to predict what other music they might like, and labels hope it will also encourage people to pay for additional downloads.
Sony had reportedly been resistant to committing to the streaming service and it had not been certain the label would sign up to iRadio in time for next week’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, where Apple is expected to unveil the platform. Anticipation surrounding the service has been building since last year. Google launched its own music subscription service “All Access” last month.
It may still take several weeks after Apple announces iRadio before the platform is ready to launch to the public, sources suggest.
Apple’s negotiations over the music industry deals were led by Eddy Cue, who oversees Apple’s iTunes store, App store and iBookstore, and reportedly improved on early offers to music companies.
The major music labels resisted Steve Jobs’s plans for iTunes when the music service was created and did not want to sign a new music streaming deal that might become a damaging precedent for digital music.
Universal Music is believed to have agreed to a royalty of 12.5 cents per 100 track streams, a share of advertising revenue, a lump sum payment and a guaranteed minimum sum.
Last weekend, Warner Music’s Warner-Chappell division became the first music publishing company to agree to a deal with iRadio.
Apple offered Warner-Chappell 10pc of advertising revenue from iRadio, which is double the rates the largest publishers earn from Pandora.
Apple and Sony declined to comment.