Google went and pre-empted Apple’s long-rumored iRadio streaming music service with a subscription music service of its own at this week’s Google I/O developer conference. Apple’s own developer event, WWDC, starts June 10, but the word is that its music service may not be ready to go by then.
The Verge says Apple is still “bogged down in licensing talks” with music publishers. Two of the big ones are still holding out, Sony/ATV and BMG, according to the Verge’s sources. That’s partly because what Apple is trying to do is not the same as Google Play Music All Access. Google’s service is a standard subscription service, like Spotify, and it will cost users $10 per month. It’s also not clear what the music catalog will look like for that service because Google has not yet announced which publishers have signed up.
iRadio is reportedly more complicated because of what Apple is trying to build and how it likes to do business. iRadio won’t be a straight-up web radio service; there will also be some on-demand aspects to it. And Apple also isn’t willing to pay music publishers an advance for access to their catalogs. Instead, Apple has agreed to give them a share of ad revenue, per-play fees and a guaranteed minimum payment, according to the Verge.
Apple already makes billions from its current content service, iTunes. It’s not essential that Apple have its own streaming music subscription service as answer to Google in a few weeks. But the company does need to acknowledge that times and habits have changed when it comes to music ownership. The developers conference seems a perfect place to debut it, but a fall event later this year when new hardware is set to be announced would be fine too; three more months doesn’t make that big of a difference at this point.