It’s looking like Pandora and its contemporaries might be safe for at least a few months longer. The rumored Apple radio service that could become a major competitor in the streaming music segment appears to be facing delays, as the content providers who would make it possible are proving difficult to reach deals with.
According to unnamed sources over at CNET, the deal Apple has proposed to the content providers has not gone over well, and they haven’t been able to reach any agreements with the big music houses like Universal and Sony. One would think that Apple’s existing relationship with these companies through iTunes would help break the ice a little bit, but apparently not enough so that Apple can get the deal they want.
As a result, iRadio (or whatever they end up calling it) won’t be available for awhile yet. Unless the labels change their minds about the current proposed terms, which is unlikely, Apple is going to have to compromise on some things. That’s not something they’ve proven to be very good at in the past; they struck a hard bargain when they brought music to iTunes, and currently get a bigger revenue cut and more freedom of distribution than almost any other digital music distribution house.
What does that mean for consumers? Well, it means a minimum of another few months of waiting for Apple’s radio service. We’ll have to stick with Pandora, Spotify, etc. for now, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There’s no telling whether Apple’s service will be as good as the existing options anyways, though there is something to be said for having downloadable music (iTunes) and streaming music (iRadio) available from the same outlet. We’ll have to wait and see whether Apple can sort out their differences with the big publishing houses.