In recent weeks, Apple CEO Tim Cook has publicly discussed everything from the future of wearable technology to the next iteration of iOS, as directed by hardware design guru Jony Ive. But amid all the talk of Apple's post-Steve Jobs future, little was mentioned regarding the company's rumoured plans for a streaming music service. That has now changed following a report claiming that Warner has signed on to what some are calling "iRadio."
The deal, which was reportedly signed on Sunday, will give the Warner Music Group a 10 per cent advertising revenue share. According to the Wall Street Journal, an inside source briefed on the deal claims that an announcement could come as soon as next week, at Apple's annual WWDC conference in San Francisco. Previous reports claim that a streaming deal with Universal Music Group has been struck, while Sony remains a holdout, for now.
Speculation about an Apple streaming deal have been floated since last year but, according to some, part of the delay has revolved around the contentious issue of royalty rates.
Apple reportedly offered the music labels a royalty rate of six cents (four pence) per 100 tracks streamed, a lower rate than that offered by competitors. After more negotiations, the company reportedly raised the offer to 12.5 cents (eight pence), a similar rate to that paid by the likes of Pandora. But it remains unclear as to whether or not the new rate has been approved by the major music labels.
Although Apple's iTunes, along with the original iPod, helped to rescue a music industry in decline, thanks in part to digital piracy, new services such as Spotify and Pandora have gained traction in recent years as viable alternatives, addressing the needs of fans of broadcast radio and retail music consumers at the same time.