iTunes 11 (Albums)

In what has become almost a customary, pre-keynote tradition, The Wall Street Journal has just posted a story claiming that it has confirmed the long-standing rumors that Apple will be introducing a new streaming music service tomorrow.

According to the report, Apple is poised to unveil the new service during its keynote address tomorrow morning in what it calls its most ambitious collaboration with the music industry since the launch of the iTunes Music Store a decade ago…

Here’s more from the WSJ:

“The highly anticipated new service—expected to be available only in the U.S.—will allow users to stream a radio-like channel of music based on their interests. It will be supported by text and audio ads from Apple’s iAd service, people familiar with the matter said. It will feature “Buy” buttons to drive downloads, they added.

It is expected to be a highlight of Apple’s annual developer conference, which begins Monday, and launch around September. Apple has signed deals with Vivendi SA’s Universal Music Group, Access Industries Inc.’s Warner Music Group and Sony Corp.’s Sony Music Entertainment and Sony/ATV Music Publishing in the past few weeks, these people said.”

The report goes on to say that talks over the streaming service started more than a year ago, and dragged on, forcing Apple to delay the launch. And unsurprisingly, they heated up again after Google launched its music service last month.

Also unsurprisingly, the paper says discussions were mostly between label execs and Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of Internet software and services. Cue helped get iTunes off the ground 10 years ago, and has developed a reputation as a strong negotiator.

As for the service itself, dubbed ‘iRadio‘ by the media, it seems like we have a pretty good idea of what to expect. Reports say it will be free of charge, supported by ads, and play music in a Pandora-like fashion using Apple’s Genius technology.

All other details will have to wait until Tim Cook and company take the stage at Moscone West tomorrow. Apple’s keynote is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. PST, and iDB will be here all day to provide you with live updates of all the announcements.

Any last minute predictions or comments on iRadio?