Apple Likely To Launch Free, Ad-Supported ‘iRadio’ Music Streaming Service

Source: Rosa Golijan / NBC News

As Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) edges closer, rumors revolving around a new music streaming service — dubbed “iRadio” by some — are intensifying. Are Pandora, Google Play Music All Access, Spotify, Rdio and other music streaming services about to be smacked around by the Cupertino-based company which fueled the digital music revolution in the first place?

“No one at the company has formally introduced it … but you hear about Apple’s interest in providing a radio format,” Rome Thomas, senior vice president of sales and artist development at A&M/Octone Records, told NBC News as iTunes celebrated its 10th anniversary in late April. He, too, speculated — perhaps jokingly — that the service could be called “iRadio.”

According to the Wall Street Journal’s Hannah Karp, the pieces for such a service are falling into place. She writes that “people familiar with the matter” claim that Apple secured “a licensing deal with Warner Music Group for the rights to its recorded music and music publishing.” Under this deal, Karp explains, Apple agrees “give Warner Music Group’s publishing arm 10 percent of ad revenue — more than twice what Internet radio giant Pandora pays major music publishers.” Apple is reportedly still in negotiations with other labels.

Bloomberg’s Adam Satariano has sources suggesting that Apple’s new music streaming service will be ad-supported, relying on Apple’s own iAd network.

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