Apple reportedly pushing hard for summer iRadio release

Old radio

There’s been a lot of speculation over the last several months regarding Apple’s streaming music service. Rumors of the company working on a Pandora-like service have been bouncing around for years, but late-2012 reports have rekindled the story.

It was initially believed that Apple’s iRadio project would launch sometime in early 2013, but that plan was reportedly derailed by conflicts with record labels over pricing. There’s a new report out today, though, that says the new goal is this summer…

The Verge just released a large-scale report on Pandora’s ongoing fight with the music industry, and the state of the music industry as a whole. And in it, the publication mentions that it has heard from ‘industry insiders’ about iRadio’s latest progress.

“Much has been written about Apple’s plan to launch a Pandora-esque service this year. Now multiple music industry insiders have told The Verge that significant progress has been made in the talks with two of the top labels: Universal and Warner. One of the sources said “iRadio is coming. There’s no doubt about it anymore.” Apple is pushing hard for a summertime launch.”

Summertime is a pretty bold launch date, considering that just earlier this month, The New York Post reported that Apple and record labels had come to a stalemate, as the iPad-maker was offering record companies an industry-low $0.06 per song streamed.

But whether it launches in the summer or not, evidence that Apple is nearing completion of its music service is piling up. In addition to reports by The New York Times and Bloomberg, 9to5Mac uncovered what look like streaming Radio buttons hidden in iOS 6.1.

Although it’s entering in a remarkably crowded space, Apple certainly has the chops to make a big impact with both its iTunes Store and its 500 million-strong user base offering significant leverage. The only real question that remains is what model will they use?

Previous reports claimed that the streaming music service would be free of charge, supported by iAds. But if Apple was having trouble getting labels to agree to this, it could have very well switched to a pricing model. Hopefully we’ll find out in just a few months.