It hasn’t yet been a month since Google unveiled their online radio service, Google Play Music All Access, yet it looks like there’s another competitor entering the fray and battling for online streaming radio dominance. The New York Times reports that Apple is finally getting their ducks in a row to debut their own Internet radio service, quite possibly as soon as next Monday (10). The new service, which like Pandora, would offer streaming music based on the user’s taste, has been mired in negotiations with music publishers and the three major labels since last Summer, but they’re starting to make some headway.
This past weekend, Apple signed a deal with Warner Music Group for both recorded music rights and publishing. They have a deal in place at Universal for recorded music, but not publishing. They don’t have either at Sony Music Entertainment or their publishing arm, Sony/ATV, so Apple still has some hurdles to overcome, especially if they’re going to unveil the new service at their annual Worldwide Developers Conference that starts on June 10. But according to Business week (via Techcrunch), “iRadio,” as it’s being dubbed, may not become available to the general public until later this year, when iOS7 is released.
With Spotify and Google Play Music All Access already competing with Pandora, will they be able to keep up with a third competitor? That remains to be seen, but according to the Wall Street Journal, Apple was able to get Warner on board by giving Warner’s publishing arm 10% of ad revenue, which is more than double what Pandora pays. And yesterday Pandora’s stock fell 11% on the news, their biggest one-day decline since 2012. And it should be noted that while Apple would be coming to the table last, they have the benefit of being able to link the service with their wildly successful iTunes interface, And unlike Google, their service is expected to be free, and supported by ads, much like Pandora and Spotify’s free versions.