Beats Music relaunch plans stalled as Apple hammers out deals

Apple’s reported plans to relaunch the Beats Music streaming service at WWDC are under threat due to the firm’s inability to agree licensing deals with major record industry players.

According to a Billboard report, Apple faces a race against time to ink deals ahead of its annual developers’ conference.

One industry source told the site: “June won’t be the release date. The deals aren’t done.”

Another was more optimistic, pointing out Apple had pulled rabbits out of the hat with record labels in the past. “If any company can pull it off, they can,” the source said. “Labels are more likely to play ball with them,” as Apple has been a cash cow for labels for a considerable period of time.

Should Apple fail to agree the necessary details over rights, it seems likely Cupertino would still announce the revamped streaming platform at WWDC and save the release until iOS 9 this autumn.

Reports have claimed the company plans to rebrand Beats Music, which it acquired as part of a $3 billion buyout of the wider Beats Electronics audio hardware empire.

Apple currently has a download store, a cloud storage locker in iTunes Match and the Pandora-like iTunes Radio offering, but no fully fledged streaming service. A Beats revamp would complete the circle.

Read more: Apple iOS 9: Features we want to see in 2015

Of course, Apple will be entering a densely populated market, fearing plenty of established players and Jay-Z’s much-maligned Tidal streaming service. Tidal recently claimed the politics had already begun, asserting Apple “deliberately took longer than usual to approve Tidal’s app updates.”

Reports this week even claimed Apple was putting pressure on Spotify to put the kibosh on the free streaming tier ahead of the relaunch of Beats.

Of course, Apple got into trouble before in these sorts of circumstances, with the U.S. Department of Justice finding it guilty of conspiring with publishers to keep ebook prices artificially high in 2013.

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