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Apple will blink to strike deals in time to unveil 'iRadio' at WWDC

Gregg Keizer | June 4, 2013
Record labels play 'game of chicken,' says expert, because they know Apple wants to make deadline

Sinnreich thought the 20% was accurate, but only when on-demand subscription plans — which Apple's iRadio will not be — are included. Pure Internet radio is a low-margin, low-revenue business.

And Apple is late to the party: Talk of an iRadio service has circulated for more than a year, and longer than that for a music service of some sort. It's also been trumped by Google, which last month rolled out All Access, a $9.99 per month on-demand music subscription service.

Then, analysts pooh-poohed the idea that Apple had lost the race, noting that the Cupertino, Calif. company was, after all, interested in serving only its own ecosystem, just as Google was aiming at the Android market.

Sinnreich said much the same today. "Apple's still very relevant in the digital music strategy of the labels," he said.

The biggest barrier to agreement between Apple and the labels, Sinnreich added, has been the difficulty the music industry has had coming to terms with change.

"Records and radio were once two totally different technologies, with totally different organizations and legal language," Sinnreich observed. "Now the lines between the two have blurred, and [the music industry] has an organizational problem at large dealing with that."


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