Apple's iRadio may go live soon
AFTER months of stalled negotiations over its planned Internet radio service, Apple is pushing to complete licensing deals with music companies so it can unveil the service as early as next week, according to sources.
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 - the world's third-largest music label, with names like Madonna, Prince and Muse on its roster - for both rights.
The only holdout left among the music-label bigwigs is Sony Music Entertainment and Sony's separate publishing arm, Sony/ATV, whose songwriters include Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga.
Apple's service, a Pandora-like feature that would tailor streams of music to each user's taste, has been in the works since at least last summer.
But Apple has made little progress with record labels and music publishers, which have been seeking higher royalty rates and guaranteed minimum payments, according to the sources, who spoke anonymously about the private talks.
While it is still at odds with some music companies over deal terms, Apple is said to be eager to get the licences in time to unveil the service - nicknamed iRadio by the technology press - at its annual developers' conference in San Francisco, which begins on Monday.
Apple's Internet radio feature is expected to be free and supported by advertising.