It is being reported that Apple has reached a deal with Warner Music, for the oft rumored “iRadio” service. This makes Warner the second major label to sign up with Apple, with Universal being the first one. Apple is working overtime to get labels signed up before WWDC kicks off on June 10 in San Francisco, fueling speculation that the service could be launched at the event.
One thing that still needs to be ironed out is a deal with Sony Music. The two have not reached any agreement yet, and Sony Music is the third of the big three that Apple would want to see on board. Incidentally, Sony Music has a portfolio that includes artists like Justin Timberlake, Daft Punk, Taylor Swift and Lady GaGa.
Apple, it was believed, was in close negotiations with Universal and Warner back in April 2013, and the deal with Universal was finalized soon after. However, while the agreement with Universal only includes recorded music rights, the deal with Warner Music is also believed to include publishing rights.
It is believed that Apple’s radio service would be on the lines of Pandora’s offering, and will be a free to use service supported by advertising. The fact that Google launched its own music streaming service in the U.S. sometime back, would have brought the urgency back into the process, because any delay now would be a major embarrassment for Apple. On the other hand, major music labels would be treating Apple with utmost respect, because the iTunes’ download business, earned them an estimated $3.4bn last year.