Apple And Sony Reach Agreement, Giving iRadio Full Record Label Support, Report Claims

Apple’s rumored iRadio support has just scored a major win, signing up remaining holdout Sony Music according to a new report from AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka. This follows reports earlier this week that talks had successfully resulted in arrangements with Warner Bros. and Universal, which should mean Apple is in a good position to be able to launch its streaming radio service soon, possibly as early as next week at WWDC.

Recent reports suggested that Apple has been negotiating aggressively with labels in order to get them on board with the service, which is rumored to resemble Pandora and offer free, ad-supported listening to iOS users. The reason for the sudden renewal in talks, which had previously hit a brick wall according to earlier rumors, is that Apple wanted to be able to announce the new service at WWDC on Monday. Kafka says we “should expect” to hear about the service at the event via official announcement, which could occur during Apple’s WWDC keynote happening at 10 AM Pacific, which we’ll be reporting from live.

Apple is said to still have some potential hiccups in the way, according to the report, including landing an arrangement between Sony/ATV, the publishing part of Sony’s music business. But it was apparently closer to a deal with that group than it was with Sony Music, which Kafka says is probably a good indication Apple will work through that minor barrier as well.

An iRadio announcement would be well-timed, given the recent launch of Google’s own All Access music service for the Play store. But Apple’s offering also sounds like a very different kind of service, with perhaps more in common with the kind of DMCA streaming radio service offered by companies like 7digital. The big appeal of the service, for both Apple and for its record label partners, might be that the company can use it to drive even more iTunes direct music sales, by integrating the service closely with Apple’s traditional digital downloads-driven music store, and with other offerings like the iTunes Match digital locker service.