Apple getting closer to Internet radio deal, reports say

CNET/James Martin

Apple may be getting closer to launching an online streaming radio service, according to recent reports. The new music streaming service is said to compete directly with Pandora and Spotify radio.

CNET reports that Apple has struck a deal with Warner Music Group and its publishing arm Warner Chappell on Sunday. News of the deal has sparked new speculation that the service, which has been nicknamed iRadio, will be announced as early as next week. 

According to CNET's sources, the deal with Apple could be very lucrative for record labels and music publishers. The New York Post reported in March that Apple was seeking to pay 6 cents per 100 songs streamed, which is half of what Pandora pays. By comparison, Spotify is said to pay 35 cents per 100 songs streamed and iHeart radio 22 cents, the Post said.

However, according to CNET's sources, the deal has changed and that Apple will pay the the same rate or higher than Pandora.

According to the New York Times, the tech giant is pushing to close deals with music companies ahead of the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) next week. Citing people briefed on the talks, the Times reports that the negotiations have been slow going because record labels and music publishers are seeking higher royalty rates and guaranteed minimum payments.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the online radio's launch has been stalled because negotiations with Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV could not be reached. There are no details on a possible deal with EMI Music.

The music streaming service is said to work more like Pandora because it does not offer on-demand listening, CNET reports. But listeners of the radio service may be able to click through and purchase songs they like.

Apple did not immediately respond to CBS News' request for comment.

Editor's note: This story was updated to add detail on Apple's deal with Warner Music Group and pay structure with record labels and music publishers. 

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