Multiple rumors from the past few months have claimed that Apple is just “months away” from launching its own Pandora-like online radio service for iOS devices, Macs and possibly even PCs. However, CNET, in a story on Pandora’s recent stock nosedive, says that Apple’s rumored service is “still nowhere near to being complete.”
From CNET’s report:
The rumors continue to swirl but multiple music industry sources have told CNET in recent weeks that the deal that Apple has offered for iRadio has left the major record companies — Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group — cold.
My sources say that, at a minimum, a deal with all the majors is nowhere near to being completed. Even if Apple sweetens its offer or the big labels change their mind tomorrow, these deals take a while to put to bed. Even in the best case scenario, it will still be a while before we see iRadio.
While Apple has an expansive music catalog in the iTunes Store for purchase, the licensing terms for its rumored radio service are very different, which is why it needs to sign new deals with record labels. Apple’s looking to get a more permissive license than Pandora for its radio service, which would let users play the same song multiple times and give early access to new releases. Apart from early access and multiple plays, Apple’s deal with record labels would also dictate the ad revenue sharing terms between the two firms.
According to one report, Apple was expecting to finalise its deals with record labels “in the next few weeks” hoping for a final launch in early 2013. With the music industry not being equally enthusiastic as Apple about “iRadio,” Apple is likely to have difficulties in sticking to its early 2013 timeline.
While the idea of an ad-supported service being developed by Apple seems strange, such an offering would further strengthen the iOS (and Mac) ecosystem, which already has unrivalled content services. Just yesterday, Apple expanded the iTunes Store to 52 additional countries, reaching an impressive total of 119 countries where iTunes music is available for purchase.