No major labels onboard yet for Apple’s radio service

Rumors have been floating around since September that Apple is working on a new Pandora-like streaming radio service. In fact, the word is that it’s almost finished, and it should be ready for launch by early 2013.

But according to a new report, that expectation may fall flat, as Apple continues to struggle with securing the proper licenses for such a service. Apparently the record labels aren’t too happy with its licensing terms…

CNET (via 9to5Mac) reports:

“The rumors continue to swirl but multiple music industry sources have told CNET in recent weeks that the deal that Apple has offered for iRadio has left the major record companies — Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and Universal Music Group — cold.

My sources say that, at a minimum, a deal with all the majors is nowhere near to being completed. Even if Apple sweetens its offer or the big labels change their mind tomorrow, these deals take a while to put to bed. Even in the best case scenario, it will still be a while before we see iRadio.”

It’s not surprising to see that Apple is struggling to get labels onboard. Pandora is currently trying to get Congress to lower the amount of Web radio royalties it has to pay artists because the current rates are killing its profits.

The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on Apple’s internet radio project, saying that the company was looking to expand its online music dominance by offering a customizable web radio service similar to Spotify and Pandora.

Bloomberg followed up the scoop saying that the service would be free to users, and supported by Apple’s iAd platform. And according to its sources, Apple is working on a unique revenue sharing model that could appease content holders.

Either way, it’s pretty clear that there’s something going on inside Cupertino walls regarding a new streaming music service. But it looks like the answer to the questions “what is it” and “when will we see it” just got a lot more complicated.