Apple’s rumoured plans to launch an internet radio service for iOS devices may have hit a stumbling block, according to reports on Thursday.
The so-called iRadio app, which would take on the likes of Spotify, Pandora and iHeartRadio was, the New York Times reports, penciled-in by Apple for a launch around February.
However tough negotiations have delayed it until the summer, at least, the paper says.
According to the Times, Apple is able to glean rights for most music from its agreement with US-based rights groups like The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (Ascap) and Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI). However, this leaves out the Sony-controlled libraries that no longer have agreements with those organisations.
According to a separate report from the not-always-reliable New York Post the break down in these negotiations is because Apple is offering half of the royalty fees that labels earn from the existing Pandora service, which has a whopping 65m user-base.
The Post claims that Apple is offering $0.06 (about 4p) per 100 plays on its planned app, while Pandora pays out $0.12 (about 8p) for every 100 plays a song receives.
This compares even more negatively to the $0.22/100 plays (15p) paid to labels by the terrestrial-radio backed iHeartRadio service (because it is owned by ClearChannel, a broadcast company). The Post says Spotify is the best-paying of all internet radio services, forking out $0.35 (23p)for every 100 plays.
However, it’s important to point out that none of the above figures are official and would only apply to payments made to labels in the US.
This alleged low-balling, combined with Apple’s power in the mobile arena, has turned the labels off making a deal, according to the reports.
The reported delay might give Google a chance for a rare head start over Apple, with recent reports suggesting that the company and its YouTube site are looking to branch out in to music streaming.
Apple has not commented publicly on the matter and is yet to make public any intentions to launch an online radio portal. Not that it would of course.