We’ve heard a lot of credible claims lately about Apple’s streaming radio service, the most recent of which state that the service is on track to launch this summer, despite a hangup between Apple and various music labels on royalty rates. A new report from The Verge now claims that Apple has moved one step closer to reaching a licensing deal with two major labels (Warner Music and Universal Music Group) – a huge step towards a public launch for the service.
According to the report, Apple seems set to reach a deal with Universal Music Group by next week, and is expected to reach a deal with Warner Music shortly thereafter.
Apple is expected to sign its first internet radio licensing agreement with a major record label perhaps as soon as next week, multiple sources with knowledge of the talks have told The Verge. Universal Music Group, the largest of the major record companies, has reached the final stages of the negotiations and Warner Music is close behind, the sources said.
While this is a step in the right direction, the report also notes that Apple’s “iRadio” still has some significant hurdles left to jump, such as reaching a deal with Sony Music Entertainment and various music publishers. Those arrangements are reportedly not as close to being reached as the Warner and Universal deals.
Apple still has some time to negotiate with the remaining labels and publishers in order to meet their goal for a summer launch however – and considering Apple’s strong ties to those labels through the iTunes Store, I would expect that it’s only a matter of time before they are able to reach a deal with those groups as well.
If all goes as planned, it sounds like we could see Apple’s iRadio debut at WWDC in June. That would certainly add some excitement to Tim Cook’s keynote!