As part of a wide-ranging music industry story by Greg Sandoval at The Verge, details on Apple’s upcoming streaming radio project seem to be clearing up.
Much has been written about Apple’s plan to launch a Pandora-esque service this year. Now multiple music industry insiders have told The Verge that significant progress has been made in the talks with two of the top labels: Universal and Warner. One of the sources said “iRadio is coming. There’s no doubt about it anymore.” Apple is pushing hard for a summertime launch.
Apple’s streaming radio project has been in the news for at least a year. We heard no shortage of rumors that Apple planned to take on the Pandoras and Spotifys of the world with its own ‘iRadio’ service, and Bloomberg predicted a Q1 2013 (current) launch. Then we heard there were some delays that appear to have pushed the release out to summer.
Perhaps most damningly, we found pay radio buttons in the iPad’s music player app code earlier this year.
And the music industry really ought to want to see this happen because they are coming to realize that subscription music services can bring in significant revenues. This is an important future business model for them. But they should not make the mistake they made in the mp3 market where they essentially gave one company, Apple, the dominant position in the market. If the music industry came together, like the banks came together to create ATM roaming networks, to create a subscription music roaming network, they would create a dynamic where no one subscription music service could create the kind of network effects that would allow them to become the dominant subscription music service. And that is very much in the music industry’s interest.