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Apple reportedly inks 'iRadio' licensing deal with Warner ahead of WWDC

post #1 of 34
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After months of rumors and allegedly stalled talks, Apple is now said to be making headway in licensing content for a supposed Internet radio service dubbed "iRadio," which some insiders say could debut in time for this year's Worldwide Developers Conference.

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Citing people familiar with the ongoing talks, Apple inked a deal with Warner Music Group over the weekend for both recorded music and music publishing rights, adding to an existing arrangement with Universal Music Group for recorded music, reports The New York Times.

The sources claim Apple is working hard to reach amicable terms with some of the world's largest music labels ? Warner, Universal and Sony ? so it can present iRadio at WWDC, which kicks off on June 10.

Apple was first rumored be working on an Internet radio service in September 2012, but has reportedly hit snags along the way as music publishers continue to demand unacceptably high royalty rates and minimum payments. A report earlier this month claimed Apple's unwillingness to pay royalty advances to copyright holders has kept the company from striking deals with the three major labels.

Most recently, the company was said to be offering a hybrid payment system in which both royalties per track streamed and a share of iRadio's advertising revenue would be doled out to publishers. Also on the table is a guaranteed minimum payment, though exact numbers were not reported.

According to Sunday's report, iRadio will be mainly ad supported, much like popular Internet radio services Pandora and Spotify. It is unclear if Apple will offer a "premium" subscription tier to remove ads and boost revenue. Also in the cards is a possible tie-in with iTunes, which would offer users an easy way to purchase tracks heard on iRadio.

While iTunes dominates online music sales, Apple will be a late entrant to the Internet radio sector as even Google joined the fray with its recently released "All Access" subscription service.

WWDC 2013 is scheduled to run from June 10 through 14 at Moscone West in San Francisco.
post #2 of 34
They have launched things before on iTunes without all the studios initially, in the end they all come around.
post #3 of 34
Apple needs this. Even as a long time Apple fan I've quit using iTunes in favor of Spotify with occasional backup from Pandora, and I recommend Spotify to all my friends. Apple's video offerings could use some work too. I still keep up with a couple of shows through iTunes Season Pass but only the ones that aren't available through Hulu.
post #4 of 34

If its anything like Pandora I'm not even remotely interested. It needs to be more Spotify like. I'm not playing the game of skipping X number of songs, nor am I going to pay for skipping more songs. A Spotify like service integrated into iTunes and iOS would be awesome. I've already moved away from using iTunes to Spotify and would gladly come back to iTunes if a similar service came about. 

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post #5 of 34
I can see that this will be a really nice addition to iTunes. But will it be a significant revenue/profit contributor to Apple? How?
post #6 of 34

In some ways I'd also like to see something different added to it and not just another Pandora/Spotify knock-off like everyone else is doing. Why follow suit when you can do something better...

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post #7 of 34

I use Spotify for the same reason that I use Dropbox - ubiquitousness. There's an app for all of the major platforms and it's got great support in third party products (e.g. Sonos). 

post #8 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I can see that this will be a really nice addition to iTunes. But will it be a significant revenue/profit contributor to Apple? How?

It's a push for iAds relevance in my opinion. Apple's advertising efforts have been seen as disappointing so far. They've dropped rates several times to encourage new customers to sign on. Then after hiring a new exec to head up iAd efforts last year (Todd Terisi from Adobe and Yahoo) they bring in more help this year with yet another ad industry veteran, Paul Wright.
http://news.softpedia.com/news/Apple-Hires-Paul-Wright-to-Handle-iAd-Division-in-EMEA-341221.shtml

Being an ad-supported service they gain several million iPhone users that probably have to agree to targeted advertising to use it, as well as the necessary data-mining to make it work for the ad buyers. It may be just the trick to pump it up.
Edited by Gatorguy - 6/3/13 at 5:21am
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post #9 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I can see that this will be a really nice addition to iTunes. But will it be a significant revenue/profit contributor to Apple? How?

Hear a song, click a button, you just bought it in iTunes.
post #10 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I can see that this will be a really nice addition to iTunes. But will it be a significant revenue/profit contributor to Apple? How?

Sometimes it isn't all about winning something, sometimes it is all about not losing.

post #11 of 34
This is a meh service to me but there seem to be plenty that have wanted this service for a long time. I do question the rumour this will be announced next week. I would think this would be a iTunes event item, but I guess being an iOS 7 event item makes a lot of sense, too. I just hope it doesn't take up too much time, or rather, I wish Apple would go back to having more events per year.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

It's a push for iAds relevance in my opinion.

This I agree with insofar it will strengthen iAds.
Quote:
Apple's advertising efforts have been seen as disappointing so far.

This I don't agree with. There prices were clearly too high to start and they've first foray into advertising has had some speed bumps but there have been plenty of reports showing iAd to have been a success for developers incorporating them. Issues in themselves don't constitute a disappointment or iCloud wouldn't be so popular and there would be a lot of chagrinned parents on this site. Chalk it up to growing pains.

edit: typo
Edited by SolipsismX - 6/3/13 at 6:00am

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post #12 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

This is a meh service to me but there seem to be plenty that have wanted this service for a long time. I do question the rumour this will be announced next week. I would think this would be a iTunes event item, but I guess being an iOS 7 event item makes a lot of sense, too. I just hope it doesn't take up too much time, or rather, I wish Apple would go back to having more events per year.
This I agree with insofar it will strengthen iAds.
This I don't agree with. There prices were clearly too high to start and they've first foray into advertising has had some speed bumps but there have been plenty of reports showing iAd to have been a success for developers incorporating them. Issues in themselves don't constitute a disappointment or iCloud wouldn't be so popular and there would be a lot of chagrinned parents on this site. Chock it up to growing pains.

The iAd network gross revenues for all of 2012 are estimated at just a paltry $125 million.
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post #13 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

Chock it up to growing pains.

I prefer chalk myself......

;-)
post #14 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

The iAd network gross revenues for all of 2012 are estimated at just a paltry $125 million.

That doesn't seem bad to me. In no way has iAd been made out to be a primary arm of their business. If this was the primary source of income I'd say you have a point. Even the successful Apple TV probably didn't made close to that for most of the years it operated. Last year might have been the first year it made over that amount.

Let's remember that Apple has yet to move iAd to support Mac OS X or used any internet service. iCloud is free and that is iAd free. Imagine if iMessages with over 2 billion messages per day had ads popping up periodically. They'd probably get a lot more customers because they've made the service more likely to be seen (they'd also make iMessage and iOS a lot worse in the process, but that's beside the point).

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post #15 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


Imagine if iMessages with over 2 billion messages per day had ads popping up periodically. They'd probably get a lot more customers because they've made the service more likely to be seen (they'd also make iMessage and iOS a lot worse in the process, but that's beside the point).

Imagine if they get 150 million iOS users to agree to share "non-personal" data and receive targeted iAds in return for listening to "iRadio". For Apple to risk the ire of some long-time users and go the Google route of ad-supported services and the necessary data-mining to support it would indicate they have bigger plans for iAd, wouldn't you think?
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post #16 of 34
The fringes of an ecosystem sometimes become the means.

Seems like we're moving away from purchasing "our own copies" of media (DVDs, CDs... even digital downloads) and moving toward "always available, wherever you are, your library PLUS our library". Or, why even have "your library" when you can have your playlists/channels of "our library"?

I don't claim to have any idea how this will play out, but the numbers are obviously compelling to Apple and to others.

Peace.
post #17 of 34

Time to dump P.

post #18 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

Imagine if they get 150 million iOS users to agree to share "non-personal" data and receive targeted iAds in return for listening to "iRadio". For Apple to risk the ire of some long-time users and go the Google route of ad-supported services and the necessary data-mining to support it would indicate they have bigger plans for iAd, wouldn't you think?

This is moving into another topic altogether. At this point we don't even know if this rumoured iRadio is true, much less it being supported by iAd. If it is, how do we know that it will be targeted ads that use personal data? If the ads are specific to the user based on deep data mining (which I think is unlikely for internet radio) it doesn't mean they're sharing or selling personal data to anyone. They may just give away general aggregate data to potential customers to encourage them to sign up or they may no do any of that at all as radio service is fairly pointed already.

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post #19 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post

This is moving into another topic altogether. At this point we don't even know if this rumoured iRadio is true, much less it being supported by iAd. If it is, how do we know that it will be targeted ads that use personal data? If the ads are specific to the user based on deep data mining (which I think is unlikely for internet radio) it doesn't mean they're sharing or selling personal data to anyone. They may just give away general aggregate data to potential customers to encourage them to sign up or they may no do any of that at all as radio service is fairly pointed already.

I don't disagree. Google doesn't share or sell personal data either, yet still is viewed as invasive by some number of AI forum members who may or may not be representative of the average Apple customer.
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post #20 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

I don't disagree. Google doesn't share or sell personal data either, yet still is viewed as invasive by some number of AI forum members who may or may not be representative of the average Apple customer.

If iRadio iAd ads start advertising sunscreen lotion after I put in my Calendar that I'm headed to the beach next weekend or after an iMessage conversation about needing new running shoes I get targeted ads from Nike then I can see people complaining. Whether it's just all automated, not sold, kept anonymous, etc. it all comes off very creepy to have your Gmail ads reflect the content of your emails as you're reading them (something Yahoo! is now forcing the rest of their users to upgrade to: http://mashable.com/2013/06/02/yahoo-mail-classic/ ).

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post #21 of 34
Originally Posted by 6ryph3n View Post
Apple needs this.

 

Not at all.

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post #22 of 34
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Originally Posted by pedromartins View Post

Sometimes it isn't all about winning something, sometimes it is all about not losing.

In the sense that iTunes needs to stay relevant yes, this is an important move. In terms of direct revenue, less so. We don't know how the service will work, of course, but I'd be surprised if is just a basic streaming service. Whatever the service is it's not a huge deal for me but for my kids it will be great. They turn over music like its nobody's business. I need a way for them to listen to whatever they want at a fixed price. Ideally there will be a way of listening off line.

post #23 of 34
I can't see Apple putting ads in between songs, it doesn't seem like something Apple would do. I think iRadio might be a subscription service where the subscription fee is waived if you buy X number of songs a month. Certainly as you hear songs through iRadio you will be encouraged to download the track from the store. Alternatively the iRadio service might be an add on to iTunes Match which already charges a fee and doesn't appear* to have been massively popular (*I haven't heard Apple touting any numbers for Match which may be a sign it's not that popular and I don't know many people who use, but I have no hard evidence to back it up!)
post #24 of 34
This makes even more sense now. Reports are that "iRadio" will be tied into the existing 500M active iTunes accounts, giving Apple a way to extend iAds to customers outside of Apple users. If true it gives Apple a big new audience to offer up to advertisers and a way to move iAds from mobile to desktop.

http://www.examiner.com/article/apple-to-possibly-make-iradio-a-reality-with-warner-music-deal
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post #25 of 34

Apple is often criticized for not giving its users choice. IRadio will give music lovers choice. Yet, some are now questioning why Apple is doing it. :)

post #26 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post

This makes even more sense now. Reports are that "iRadio" will be tied into the existing 500M active iTunes accounts, giving Apple a way to extend iAds to customers outside of Apple users. If true it gives Apple a big new audience to offer up to advertisers and a way to move iAds from mobile to desktop.

http://www.examiner.com/article/apple-to-possibly-make-iradio-a-reality-with-warner-music-deal

Yeah, I expected this would also end up in iTunes but will it also be a web-based service that users can access at work? Will they offer audio-based ads lie Spotify and, well, the radio? That would be branching out into a new area of ad support that would really have nothing to do with in-app iAd ads but it would certainly strengthen the ad service they have.

Tim Cook at D11: “Would Apple port an app from iOS to Android? We have no religious issue. If we thought it made sense to do that, we would do that. You can take the same philosophy and apply it to iCloud… Would it make sense for iCloud? It doesn’t today.” iRadio might actually be a way for Apple to profit from Android but I'd think that a web-based option would be more effective overall.

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post #27 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gatorguy View Post


Being an ad-supported service they gain several million iPhone users that probably have to agree to targeted advertising to use it, as well as the necessary data-mining to make it work for the ad buyers. It may be just the trick to pump it up.

If Apple's "iRadio" is a free ad supported service I'll be highly disappointed and won't be using it.  There are enough companies out there using us a product rather than treating us as customers.  I've severely cut back on using "free" services and don't want to have any more in my life.  I'd gladly pay a nominal monthly subscription fee for "iRadio" to avoid ads and data mining.  With either ads or data mining, I'm out the door.

post #28 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by yensid98 View Post

If Apple's "iRadio" is a free ad supported service I'll be highly disappointed and won't be using it.  There are enough companies out there using us a product rather than treating us as customers.  I've severely cut back on using "free" services and don't want to have any more in my life.  I'd gladly pay a nominal monthly subscription fee for "iRadio" to avoid ads and data mining.  With either ads or data mining, I'm out the door.

That makes me wonder if they could offer the service for free with an iDevice (and perhaps on a Mac via an app), or do that plus have the service be add supported for users accessing it via the web.

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post #29 of 34
Thanks to ridiculously low data caps and tiered pricing, I've settled on free over the air radio instead. I might be the last person in America who would actually like an FM radio in my iPhone. ;P

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post #30 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

I might be the last person in America who would actually like an FM radio in my iPhone. ;P

The good news is your iPhone has had an FM receiver built into the chip that also deals with WiFi and Bluetooth. The bad news is there is no way to enable it. I'm not even sure jail breakers have tried.

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post #31 of 34

Wake me up when they have Sony. As an old-timer, I know what Sony's properties are. BMG purchased RCA, then Sony purchased BMG and Columbia. That's a butt-load of music rights. There is so much radio to be had on the Web now, will this really make a difference? Some people like me, will not pay a fee, we will listen to the modest of amount of commercials.

post #32 of 34
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


The good news is your iPhone has had an FM receiver built into the chip that also deals with WiFi and Bluetooth. The bad news is there is no way to enable it. I'm not even sure jail breakers have tried.

 

Might make for an interesting project for someone, but I'm not qualified in the slightest to move on this one.


Edited by SpamSandwich - 6/3/13 at 12:26pm

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post #33 of 34

If it's a service like Spotify, I'm all in and will dump Spotify.

 

If it's a service like Pandora, ...meh.

post #34 of 34
I don't care.
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