Apple unveils much rumored iTunes Radio service at WWDC 2013

iTunes-RadioThere were no shortage of details regarding Apple’s much rumored radio service leading up to today’s keynote address. The rumors said Apple was planning on introducing a free, ad-supported radio service, similar to Pandora, that would be highly integrated with a tweaked model for its iAd business. Apple has now officially unveiled the service dubbed ‘iTunes Radio’ and provided some details on exactly how it will work during its keynote presentation this morning at Moscone West in San Francisco.

The new iTunes Radio app is built in to the iOS radio app, and works on the Mac and Apple TV as well. As rumored, iTunes Radio will be free, supported by ads. In a twist, however, iTunes Radio will be completely free (free of ads) if you’re a subscriber to iTunes Match:

The Music app has a beautiful new design and includes the new iTunes Radio, a free Internet radio service featuring over 200 stations and an incredible catalog of music from the iTunes Store®, combined with features only iTunes can deliver. iTunes Radio is the best way to discover new music. When you tune into iTunes Radio on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac®, PC or Apple TV®, you’ll have access to stations inspired by the music you already listen to, Featured Stations curated by Apple and genre-focused stations that are personalized just for you.

As we reported prior to today’s event, the underlining technology is based on Apple’s iTunes Genius feature with iTunes Radio tailoring the experience to your iTunes usage. Apple says there will be Siri integration, and also aims to offer users “access to exclusive “first listen” premieres from top selling artists.” Read more

iRadio is a go as Apple reportedly signs deal with Sony

Earlier this year, we discovered buttons in iOS 6 that seem to imply that users will be able to purchase the songs that they listen to via Apple’s upcoming radio service.

Earlier this year, we discovered buttons in iOS 6 that seem to imply that users will be able to purchase the songs that they listen to via Apple’s upcoming radio service.

AllThingsD reports that Apple has secured a deal with Sony to launch its long rumored iRadio service. You may recall Sony was the last major record label to secure as Apple had already signed deals with both Warner and Universal. We expect to see iRadio previewed at WWDC which kicks off Monday.

Sony Music has signed on to Apple’s forthcoming iRadio service, according to a person familiar with negotiations between the two companies.

WSJ previously reported that Apple will pay Warner 10% of ad revenue, which is about twice as much as Pandora contributes. Apple’s own iAd service is set to refocus its attention on supporting the music streaming service with audio ads for the first time since its launch.

Peter Kafka goes on to report that it’s possible that Sony/ATV, its publishing wing, may not have officially inked its deal with Apple:

It’s still possible that Apple may have hurdles to clear. As of earlier this week, the company had yet to sign up Sony/ATV, Sony’s music publishing arm.

But the gaps between Sony/ATV and Apple were supposedly smaller than the ones between Sony Music and Apple were looking at a few days ago.

While Apple’s iRadio service should be announced on Monday, it is possible it won’t be available for end users until later this year when iOS 7 completes development. Similarly, the iCloud-based iTunes Match service was announced with the preview of iOS 5 and made available to members of Apple’s iOS Developer Program in June 2011, but saw a delayed launch following iOS 5′s release in October later that year.

Tune in Monday at 10 a.m. PST/1 p.m. EST for our live coverage of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference where we’ll be on location. In the mean time, you can check out our comprehensive preview of what we expect to see at WWDC. Read more

WWDC 2013 Roundup: iOS 7, OS X 10.9, MacBooks, ‘Genius-like’ Radio app (plus new tidbits)

Photo by Nick Thulin

Photo by Nick Thulin

By this time in 2012, Apple had taken the stage and dominated the news cycle multiple times to announce products like a new iPad, Apple TV, new Mac operating system, and various other software for both iOS and OS X. However, the first half of 2013 has been low on Apple product introductions as the company, coming off of a big fall, has focused on minor tweaks to existing products.

Even though Apple has been out of the limelight, the Cupertino company has been hard at work on a slew of new hardware, software, and services products, and the company plans to introduce new versions of iOS, OS X, and the MacBook Air at its WWDC conference next week. Apple will be holding a keynote on 10 AM on Monday to talk about these new products.

Below, you can find our much-anticipated WWDC 2013 roundup along with many new tidbits about what Apple is preparing:

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Report claims Apple’s iRadio will include both audio ads and traditional iAds

Image (2) tron-iad-121410.jpg for post 42302Following several reports from earlier this week claiming Apple’s much rumored free, ad-supported radio service would be tightly integrated with its iAd business, AdAge claims to have more details on how ads will work in the service.

In case you were wondering whether or not the ads would be audio ads or traditional app-like iAds, AdAge says both:

The audio ads will be sold via iAd, Apple’s mobile ad network, according to a former Apple executive with knowledge of the situation. In addition to audio ads, the streaming music service will also contain the mobile ads iAd currently sells.

The aim of the ad-supported service, which according to the report’s sources will not include the ability to search or play specific songs on-demand, is to drive song downloads to iTunes.

The report adds that a spokesperson for Sony/ATV Music Publishing, the one major publisher that reportedly hasn’t made deal with Apple yet, said the company “is optimistic it will sign a deal with Apple soon.”  Read more

Apple said to be closing music deals in order to launch ‘iRadio’ at upcoming WWDC

Update: Bloomberg adds more to WSJ’s report from earlier claiming that Apple’s new radio service will be tightly integrated with its iAd business. The report says Eddy Cue is currently making changes to the iAd business to support the new radio service scheduled to launch later this year alongside iOS 7:

Apple, based in Cupertino, California, has been negotiating with advertising companies including Omnicom Group Inc (OMC).’s OMD to secure brands that will run campaigns on the radio service, one person said..The company has taken steps to be more flexible with advertisers to get more business. Apple has required marketers to pay a fee for each 1,000 times an advertisement is placed in an app, plus an additional $2 for every time a customer clicks that ad. In some cases, Apple has eliminated one of those charges, one person familiar with the company said.

Apple also has cut prices so that media agencies can spend $1 million and use the purchased space for different advertising clients. And Apple started taking ad business from companies that sell alcohol, something Jobs resisted after creating iAd, said one person.

We’ve heard no shortage of rumors on the rumored iRadio streaming service from Apple that has taken on some new urgency after Google released a similar service at Google I/O last month (and plans to launch it on iOS soon). The latest comes from the NYTimes, which says Apple is rushing to close deals as days wind down to WWDC’s kickoff on June 10th.

After months of stalled negotiations over its planned Internet radio service, Apple is pushing to complete licensing deals with music companies so it can reveal the service as early as next week, according to people briefed on the talks.

It would appear that Apple wants to announce the service at WWDC, but the company needs to overcome issues with closing some of the deals. CNET reported earlier today that Apple had closed the deal with Warner, one of the bigger labels.

Apple has signed a deal with the Universal Music Group for its recorded music rights, but not for music publishing — the part of the business that deals with songwriting. Over the weekend, Apple also signed a deal with the Warner Music Group for both rights. It is still in talks with Sony Music Entertainment and Sony’s separate publishing arm, Sony/ATV, whose songwriters include Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga.

In a strange irony, the music service Apple offers is, again, said to be free and supported by ads (like Pandora/Spotify/Slacker/etc). This is in contrast to Google’s service, which is sold via a paid subscription.

I would have guessed the opposite, but this may be why Google was able to close the deals with the labels and Apple is still at the table.

WSJ adds that Apple will pay Warner 10% of ad revenue, about twice as much as Pandora, and that the service will be integrated with iAd.

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Progress: Apple is pushing for an iRadio summertime launch

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.

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