Apple Reportedly Close to Signing Streaming Deal with Universal

Apple could sign a deal for streaming music rights with Universal as soon as next week, according to unnamed sources cited by The Verge. The deal would put Apple one step closer to being able to launch a streaming radio service, something the company has reportedly been wanting to do for some time.

Streaming Radio from Apple Could Be Close

There have been multiple stories about this development of late. On April 5th, it was reported that Apple wanted a licensing deal with Universal that would shift payment away from an emphasis on per-stream payments with a mix of revenue sharing.

The Verge's sources say that's out the door, and that the new deal has Apple paying rates that are "neck and neck" with the rates being paid by current leaders Spotify and Pandora. That rate is about US$0.12 per 100 streams.

iTunes is king of music sales, but streaming services like Pandora and Spotify have both been popular. An iTunes-branded service could take immediate share in this business, and if Apple thinks it can sell ads—probably through iAd—it could make money for the company and further strengthen the iOS ecosystem.

Apple also has the ability to make it easier for users to buy tunes that they like, pumping them directly to iTunes to make the sale. Some reports have said that this was a big part of Apple's business model, and it's an advantage the existing—yet much smaller—competitors simply don't have.

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