Apple's music streaming service has been rumoured before as a rival to Spotify, but now comes word it could be with us as early as this summer. (Hopefully the cold snap we're currently enduring will have lifted by then.)
Sources within the music industry have told The Verge that Apple is making inroads with Universal and Warner, two of the biggest record labels. This doesn't fit with recent rumours that negotiations were proving tricky, and so the service would be delayed. "iRadio is coming," one source told the site, "there's no doubt about it anymore." Apple is said to be pushing hard for a launch this summer.
Apple being Apple, the company's refusing to be a pushover when it comes to the bidness discussions around getting iRadio up and running. It's reportedly negotiating to pay 6 cents per 100 strong streams, according to The New York Post, while Pandora pays 12 cents for 100 plays, and Spotify coughs up 35 cents. Of course, with Apple devices being ubiquitous, and iTunes as popular and powerful as it is, Apple is in a pretty good bargaining position.
One thing is a given. If iRadio does launch this summer, I bet it'll be US-only for the first few months, just as movie rentals through iTunes were at first, and just as Google Music was. I'm sure negotiating the rights for all different markets is a huge headache, but I say sort it all out before launch, rather than annoying millions of your customers just because they live in a certain country.
If Apple does launch a streaming service, it'll shake up the industry, just as it does with every area it ventures into. Spotify is big enough to look after itself though, thanks to its hookup with Facebook and its billion users. More competition has to be good for us punters, so I for one welcome
our new insect overlords an Apple-flavoured streaming service.
What would you like to see Apple bring to the streaming table? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook page.