Apple signs Warner Music to iRadio service.

itunes_radio_round_iconOne more to go, reports CNET.

Apple reportedly signed an agreement with the largest US record label, Warner Music, on Sunday. This brings Apple one major step closer to launching the upcoming “iRadio” music streaming service, leaving Sony as the last of the “big 3” holdouts before the expected launch at WWDC.

Though Apple has provided no details (nor confirmed that an “iRadio” service is even in the works), it is widely expected that they will debut their Pandora-like competitor at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference.

Google launched their own answer to Spotify and Pandora by releasing Google Play Music in May at their annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco. Initially for Android only, Google’s SVP of Android, chrome, and Apps, told Walt Mossberg at D11 that an iOS version was on the way “a couple of weeks from now.”

Apple has had a struggle getting Sony on board, caught up on negotiations over the cost per streams of 100 songs. Initially, Apple offered 6.5 cents per 100 tracks, allegedly just over half of what Pandora pays. Sony wouldn’t bite. Apple then matched Pandora’s rate of 12.5 cents, which is likely what we’ll see Sony sign with.

It’s unclear whether Apple would launch iRadio without Sony on board. iTunes’ music store was released in 2003 with tracks from all 5 of the major record labels in the United States. Google’s Music service went live with agreements with all of the major labels, so it would be surprising to see Apple jump into the hot music streaming market at a disadvantage.

Whatever happens we’re sure to see something at WWDC, and we’ll be covering that live starting at 10am Pacific/1pm Eastern on June 10th!

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