Apple’s iRadio Service is Ready to Launch – All Three Major Music Labels are Onboard

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Apple’s iRadio service took another step toward release readiness as Sony cut a deal with the Cupertino-based tech giant. Sony Music Group was the last of the big three music companies to take this step, which paves the way for Apple to announce plans to release iRadio at the upcoming WWDC next week.

Sony ATV, the part of the Sony Music Group that controls music publishing rights has yet to sign on with Apple. The lack of agreement between Apple and Sony ATV could present an obstacle for iRadio’s release.

Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group have already put agreements in place for both recorded music rights and music publishing rights, leaving Sony ATV as the last company that must sign on to make iRadio feasible.

If Apple ends speculation about iRadio with an official announcement at WWDC, developers in attendance will learn about the radio streaming service, but the service itself will likely not be ready until the release of iOS7.

What will iRadio be like? We’re not even sure if that’s what Apple is going to call this service, so thoughts on the service’s structure remain speculative. It is likely that iRadio will resemble Pandora, in that it will be a free, ad-supported service. Perhaps iRadio users will have more freedom to control the stream than they do with the free version of Pandora, but less freedom than an on-demand service such as Spotify.

Apple’s plans for the release of a music streaming service have been stymied by the record companies’ collective desire to get paid. Apparently the most recent hang up was with Sony, who wanted payment for songs that an individual skips during a streaming session.

Paying for skipped songs is a bit of a conundrum. What if the user plays everything but the last 10 seconds of an eight minute song, but finally skips over the tail end? Should the music company get paid? Maybe Apple should pro-rate payments based on how much a user listens.

Are you excited for iRadio? Do you still use Pandora? If you do, do you think iRadio is a Pandora killer?

[Via All Things D]

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About Emily: Emily is a freelance writer who loves discovering new apps whenever she can pry the iPad away from her children or husband. You can contact her via Twitter: @whatwentwrite