The day of reckoning for streaming music is almost here. According to the New York Times' Ben Sisario, Apple is frantically working to finalize deals with record companies so they can launch their streaming service at their annual developers conference next week.
Yep, it's finally here. Sisario reports Apple has a deal in place with Warner Music Group for music and publishing rights. They're still trying to finalize complete deals with Universal and Sony ahead of the WWDC conference on June 10. Labels are apparently asking for a big price increase from what Apple currently pays for songs purchased on iTunes:
For recording rights, the labels have asked Apple to pay at least as much as Pandora’s “penny rate” — a fixed fee for every song played, currently 12 cents per 100 streams — as well as a fee whenever a user skips from one song to another.
As our Philip Bump explained, disputes with record companies over how much would be paid per song have delayed the service's launch before now. Apple wanted to pay six cents per song played, but the record companies scoffed at the low offer. Whether or not Apple relented to the 12 cent fee is unclear. It's possible the record companies bent to Apple's will. It is unlikely, though. Apple needs all the songs it can get to compete with the crowded world of streaming music. There have been rumors of Apple's impending entrance to the streaming music world since last year. Now they're poised to enter a streaming world with Pandora, Spotify and Google fighting for supremacy.