Rumors about Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) launching a music streaming service, similar to Pandora have been around for several months now. However, these reports have become more solid in recent weeks, as more sources begin to back claims that the service may be arriving as early as this summer. According to a report from The Verge, negotiations between AAPL and record companies are moving forward, allowing for the company to begin shaping its new ‘iRadio’ music service.
Much has been written about Apple’s plan to launch a Pandora-esque service this year. Now multiple music industry insiders have told The Verge that significant progress has been made in the talks with two of the top labels: Universal and Warner. One of the sources said “iRadio is coming. There’s no doubt about it anymore.” Apple is pushing hard for a summertime launch.
Earlier in March, Apple was reportedly trying to compete with other services by offering half the royalty rate paid by Pandora. While Apple would normally control all aspects of the service, in this case, they need the record companies to allow them to use music.
If it weren’t for the record companies, Apple could have possibly launched the service much earlier, perhaps even at the end of last year. The two record companies that are reportedly making the most progress with negotiations are Warner and Universal. Apple is expected to launch new iPhone 5S / 6 this summer, so it is possible that both will launch in the same event, especially if the iPhone 5S refresh is incremental and not a major redesign.