Issues with record labels and some of the service's reported features are leading to further delays that mean that Apple's take on internet radio and music streaming might not be unveiled at June's WWDC developer conference as first thought.
The chief sticking point appears to be the ability for users to skip tracks. Citing sources familiar with the ongoing negotiations, CNET reports Apple and Sony are still working to finalize how such a feature would work and the applicable fees. The ongoing negotiations have already delayed iRadio several times. The service had been meant to launch as one of the killer features of the iPhone 5 but was held up with legalities, and problems persist.
Google had no problems getting its service, All Access, cleared and out to Android users because it is essentially a direct competitor in terms of features to Spotify and the company has apparently offered similar fees to record labels to grease the wheels.
Apple's service is expected to differ significantly from other services currently available. It is rumored to combine free music discovery, via playlists and track searches, with on-demand features, the ability to fast-forward, rewind and skip playlist tracks and to purchase songs heard through iTunes.
As usual, Apple has refused to confirm or deny that it is developing iRadio, but when the company's Senior VP of Internet Software and Services, Eddie Cue, was interviewed in March as part of iTunes' tenth anniversary celebrations, he questioned the logic of launching a paid subscription service. "[A premium subscription] costs $10 a month, that's $120 a year, and most average music customers don't spend that kind of money," he said. "If you buy it on ownership, you own it, and a subscription model, your subscription never ends if you want to keep listening to it, so you're paying that $10 or more for life."
The latest data published by Apple shows that the average iTunes account holder spends $40 a year on track downloads. Therefore Apple's service is expected to reflect the buying and listening habits of its 450 million Apple ID account holders.