Apple may resurrect Steve Jobs’ famous ‘one more thing’ keynote surprise with the launch of iOS 7 with a much anticipated and highly rumored iRadio music streaming service this summer. According to Internet reports, Apple is on track to launching its Internet radio Pandora competitor this summer and the iTunes-operator has been making progress in bringing major labels on board, like Universal and Warner Music.
Apple is still trying to negotiate pricing. After having dominated the a la carte music sales market for years with its popular iTunes Music Store–later known as just iTunes thanks to an expansion that includes other digital content–Apple is pushing for even lower pricing, undercutting even what Pandora is paying in royalties to stream songs.
According to the New York Post, Apple is trying to negotiate a deal to pay 6 cents per 100 songs streamed. That’s even lower than Pandora’s 12 cents per hundred songs and Spotify’s 35 cents for the same amount. On the other hand, the labels want Apple to pay at least the rate that’s been set by the Copyright Royalty Board of about 21 cents per hundred songs, or roughly 4 times the amount Apple’s willing to pay.
Earlier last month, we had heard that Apple’s negotiations with Sony was stalling due to pricing issues.
And Apple is rumored to be offering its iRadio music streaming service for free, subsidizing the service through an iAd-supported model. The service would likely be available to iPhone, iPad, Mac, and potentially even Windows users as an extension of iTunes.
An iRadio service would not only compete with market leaders Pandora and Spotify, but also with Nokia Music for Windows Phone, Xbox Music subscriptions, and other free and paid subscription streaming services. Albert Fried & Co. analyst Richard Tullo predicts that Apple would be able to sign up 20 million users in the first year, a sizable number compared to the 150 million users that Pandora has according to Digital Trends.
Reports of an Apple streaming music service had been going on as early as 2009 when Apple bought streaming service Lala.
And as The Verge is reporting, Apple is making progress with its negotiations and is pushing for a summer launch, perhaps the timing of the iRadio debut may coincide with Apple’s showcasing of iOS 7 to developers at its WWDC conference. And maybe, the company will bring back that element of surprise that Steves Jobs had espoused with his ‘one more thing’ at the end of his keynote, a moment that may be reserved for iRadio in 2013.
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