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Apple iRadio Service Held Up By Dispute Over Skipping Songs

by Brandon Russell | May 17, 2013May 17, 2013 2:30 pm PDT


Apple’s upcoming iRadio service is still being held up by negotiation breakdowns, with the iPhone maker still unable to reach an agreement with Sony Music. According to a fresh report on Friday, the disagreement stems from the two companies’ inability to settle on how much money would be paid for a skipped song. Apple has reportedly wrapped up talks with Warner and Universal, and is only waiting on Sony to finalize the service.

With WWDC on the horizon, the pressure is on for Apple to complete negotiations, especially now that Google’s excellent All Access service is out. Apple’s own iRadio streaming platform would differ from Google’s in that it would more closely follow Pandora’s model, and not Spotify’s. But with iTunes as the service’s backbone, Apple has an enormous foundation to build upon, and would certainly become an instant competitor.

As such, label executives are reportedly eager to sign on the dotted line for an iRadio service. Streaming music models have helped combat piracy to the point where music sales have actually increased for the first time in years. Apple’s iRadio would seemingly link with its existing iTunes library, giving it the potential for even more increased sales. You hear a song you like, and instantly you have a link to buy that song.

CNET explains that within Pandora’s model, rules for skipping songs is set under the 1996 Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Free users have the choice of six skips per hour per station, for up to 12 skips per day—skips include not just listening to a song for a few seconds and moving onto the next one, but also giving a song the thumb-down or choosing, “I’m tired of this track.” If a users does skip a song, Pandora is liable to pay full royalties.

Apple is dealing directly with music labels, unlike Pandora, whose terms is set by federal statute. If deals can be concluded before WWDC, the company is aiming for a rollout in at least a dozen countries, though it’s unclear how quickly Apple would launch the service following an official announcement. Seeing as deals have already been wrapped up with Universal and Warner, it’s likely a matter of time before Apple’s iRadio is all set to go.


Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...