According to a new report from CNET, which cites people “familiar with the negotiations,” Apple is very close to signing a deal with two major record labels to stream their music on the infamous “iRadio” service. Apple has apparently made the deal in question is very good for record labels, offering per-stream rates almost half as cheap as Pandora.
In addition to the cheaper per-stream prices, Apple is also reportedly touting iTunes’ massive customer base as another source of revenue for participating record labels. An iRadio service could integrate iTunes purchases seamlessly by offering one-click downloads for any song an iRadio user hears, which would boost downloads significantly. What’s more, Apple is rumored to be launching a new audio advertisement service along with iRadio, and offering a slice of that ad revenue to labels could also help sweeten the pot.
The sources of this information put forth that Apple could ink a deal with Warner Music and Universal Music Group as early as next week, but that nothing is set in stone because of the tenuous nature of the arrangement:
“The only thing concrete in contract is the per-play rate,” said one source. “If you end up having no ad revenue, that’s still zero. And we won’t know what the buying habits will be. Will people streaming still take the time to buy from iTunes?”
As far as features are concerned, there isn’t much to go on. The service won’t offer on-demand listening like Spotify Premium does, but it will boast a few features that Pandora does not, like the ability to restart a song. All in all, a streaming radio service with the force of iTunes behind it seems unlikely to fail. If it ever launches, that is.