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iRadio: Apple about to ink deals with major music labels, royalty rates similar to Pandora’s

Apple iCloud musicApple is reportedly edging towards the launch of its rumored ‘iRadio’ music streaming service, with the tech giant said to be close to inking deals with major record labels Universal Music Group and Warner Music.

Citing “multiple sources with knowledge of the talks”, The Verge said Thursday that a deal with Universal could be finalized next week, with Warner “close behind”.

Earlier this month it was reported that Apple was in talks with both labels, though there was no word on whether the companies were close to reaching a deal.

It was suggested in a New York Post report in March that Apple was pushing the music companies to keep the royalty rates low as it sought a deal that would result in it paying 6 cents per 100 song streams – that’s half of what Pandora reportedly pays and considerably lower than the 35 cents or so that Spotify apparently pays the labels.

“Music label insiders suggest Apple — which is sitting on a cash hoard of roughly $137 billion — ought to pay at least the rate set by the Copyright Royalty Board, or about 21 cents per 100 songs streamed,” the Post said in its report.

While you can fully expect a company the size of Apple to drive a hard bargain, the companies it’s in talks with certainly won’t be pushed around. Indeed, Thursday’s report suggests that the Cupertino company has had to settle with royalty rates similar to those of Pandora.

The subject of royalty rates is a touchy one for Pandora, which recently had to impose a 40-hour limit on free mobile listening – with a payment plan for those who go over – in an effort to deal with rising rates.

The service, which launched in 2005, this week announced its user base had passed the 200 million mark after adding 100 million users in just under two years. These numbers are impressive (especially when you consider it’s not even available in Europe yet), but with Apple apparently planning to enter the music streaming space, Pandora and  Spotify – together with other similar services – certainly have some interesting challenges ahead of them.

In order to launch its so-called iRadio streaming service – possibly as early as this summer – Apple reportedly still needs to strike a deal with Sony Music, though it’s not clear how talks are progressing with the entertainment company.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Apple bursts onto the streaming radio scene with iTunes Radio
iradio itunes radio

The creators of Spotify, Songza, Pandora, and other streaming music apps officially have one more competitor to worry about in iTunes Radio. At the World Wide Developer's Conference, Apple unveiled a number of exciting new developments, including the beautiful iOS 7. And one of the new features on the updated software: iTunes Radio, Apple's entry into the competitive streaming music field. So the rumors were true. Services chief Eddie Cue showed off the new feature to a rapt crowd - and made sure that he played a little Led Zeppelin, since the rock group's music hasn't been available on streaming services until now. Apple has the advantage of enjoying a long-standing relationship with artists and labels given iTunes veteran status on the digital music scene, which could work to the platform's advantage. 
iTunes Radio offers iOS users what looks like a very attractive new option, since it lets you choose from hundreds of pre-selected radio stations, or you can create your own based on your favorite musical artist or song. Just from the demo, you can tell that it shares many similar features to streaming music services already in existence; for instance, when you're listening to the radio, if you like one of the songs you can adjust the algorithm by hitting a star button to "Play More Songs Like This," or you can veto the song permanently. This is very similar to the feature on Spotify that lets you give songs you like the thumbs up or thumbs down. And iTunes Radio also gives you an option to put the song on your iTunes Wishlist, so it acts as a discovery tool for people who want to download songs as well. It's free with ads, but if you sign up for iTunes Match ($25 a year), it's free without ads.
"Another great feature of iTunes Radio is it keeps track of all the songs and stations you listen to across devices," Cue explains. So you can take a look at your history if you hear a song you like at the gym but didn't have an opportunity to put it on your wish list. From early glimpse, the clean interface will be simple to navigate. When you open the program, you immediately see "Featured Stations" Apple has selected. However, your faith in this will likely depend on your experience and success using Genius - which we'd called "varied" at best.
iTunes Radio is built into iOS 7, and it works on the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and you can get it through iTunes on your Mac or PC - or Apple TV. Right now, the iTunes Radio feature is only available in the U.S., but it will expand to other countries in the future.
Right now, iTunes Radio doesn't look as robust as Pandora and Spotify as far as features go, but the fact that it will have a stocked library and Apple's iTunes and iOS popularity and popular behind it will undoubtedly aid its fight in an increasingly crowded market. 

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Apple nets Big Three music publishers for iRadio, expect announcement Monday
iradio wwdc announcement more likely after apple strikes deal with warner music mem 2

Apple has been long-rumored to be prepping a Spotify and Pandora competitor called iRadio, but there has been one issue solidifying plans for its streaming service – getting all of the big three music labels on board. Fortunately with Apple’s developer conference fast approaching, AllThingsD’s sources say that the final music label, Sony Music, is now in the bag.
After finally getting Sony’s signature and all three major music labels on board – that includes Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group, and Sony Music – Apple may announce iRadio at the conference as early as Monday. Still, it's very possible that this is a pre-announcement of sorts: Developers will get an early look at Apple’s music streaming service presumably as a way to get potential third-party developers on board, and the rest of us will likely have to wait to get our hands on the service. 
Reportedly, the holdup with Sony was the fact that the music label wanted to earn royalties on every single Sony-owned song, even if the track was skipped or not played to its entirety. Whether Sony got its way or Apple talked them down is unclear, but  Billboard reports that regardless, it was difficult for Apple to get all the publishers on board. Apple was offering 4.1 percent of ad revenue to the labels, while they were asking for between 10-15 percent. The agreement was eventually settled at 10 percent.
There aren’t too many details on what iRadio will look like, but what’s rumored is that it will work much like Pandora, but offer users the ability to play music stations based on listening habits. It won’t be an on-demand service, however, like Rdio, Spotify, and Rhapsody, so you won’t necessarily be able to pick the songs you want to listen to – hence Apple calling the service “iRadio.” And to generate revenue, Apple has integrated its mobile ad platform, iAds.
According to the report, Apple isn’t entirely out of the clear with Sony. The platform may still be working on finalizing deals with Sony’s music publishing arm, Sony/ATV Music – this arm includes the acquired EMI Music publishing. However Billboard’s sources claim that Sony/ATV have finally signed with Apple’s iRadio.
Come Monday, it looks like we can expect the official announcement with all label details in tow. 

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Twitter expected to launch music discovery app, Twitter Music
twitter plans to launch its own app thatll help you discover new music we are hunted

Rumor has it that Twitter has dipped its feet in the pool of music discovery with their recent acquisition of We Are Hunted, one of our favorite Spotify apps. According to CNET, the company that made micro-blogging a household name intends to use We Are Hunted's technology to create a brand-new standalone music app under the name Twitter Music, and plans to release a version for iOS devices as early as the end of this month.
Neither Twitter nor We Are Hunted has confirmed CNET's report. There, are, however, some clues to consider that may confirm the story.
First, a very timely “not available at the moment” message plastered on the We Are Hunted official website. And the founders page that used to be on their website is no longer available.

Test#NowPlaying @whoisgambles - Safe Side ♪…
— Stephen Phillips (@huntedguy) February 2, 2013

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