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Summary:

Apple is said to be very close to completing all major deals necessary to launch a competitive streaming music service. But will it be too little, too late?

radio waves
photo: valdis torms/Shutterstock.com

It looks like Apple is ready to announce a new music service on Monday. The latest report from the behind-the-scenes negotiations says Apple and a third major music label have come to an agreement on recorded music licensing: AllThingsD says Apple has gotten Sony Music on board with its plan for its streaming iRadio music service.

Universal Music and Warner Music are already reportedly on board. The one remaining issue is Apple getting Sony/ATV, which is Sony’s music publishing arm, to sign on as well. But ATD’s report notes that “the gaps between Sony/ATV and Apple were supposedly smaller than the ones Sony Music and Apple were looking at a few days ago.”

At this point, a Monday announcement at WWDC seems very likely.

The key questions remaining:

  • Will it all be free? It’s said to be ad-supported. But will there be a premium version without ads?
  • When will it actually open go online? The word is that it will be introduced next week, but not launch until iOS 7 goes live, likely in the fall.
  • How will it connect with iTunes? If it’s a free music discovery service, Apple’s going to want to push people to buy the stuff they like.
  • Will it actually be called “iRadio”?

Apple is certainly a bit late in launching a streaming music service. But then again, that’s the company’s general m.o.: it’s never first to jump on tech trends to appeal to the tech-savvy. Apple typically hangs back and jumps in with a super simple product that your mom can easily figure out (iCloud excepted). To compete with what’s already out there — Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, etc. — Apple’s going to have to offer something that’s super convenient — integrated with services or devices their customers are already using — or a better value.

We’ll be live-blogging Apple’s keynote at 10 a.m. PT on Monday, be sure to come back to GigaOM to get the up-to-the-minute details on the new music service and everything else Apple reveals.

  1. Another question I’ve been wondering is how’s it going to work with iTunes Match? Is owned music going to become a thing of the past? I really hope not because I’ve spent loads building up my library.

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    1. I feel the exact opposite Josh. I stopped owning something physical (CDs. mp3s, etc) years ,ago. In my mind “renting” monthly is the way to go. I’ve had Rhapsody for close to 10 years and have been extremely pleased. Having to tote around music and buy singles is not for me. Streaming is the way to go. The one thing I kind of miss is the packaging. I used to love reading liner notes and stuff like that, but I prefer the trade off of not having tons of plastic take up a wall in my room back when I had a ton of CDs.

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  2. Gary Dauphin Friday, June 7, 2013

    Silly me, I thought you were going answer the questions, not reiterate them.

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  3. BloombergTV says Sony signed on this afternoon.

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