While other labels are ready to sign on the dotted line, Sony Music reportedly has not struck a deal with Apple based on terms associated with skipping songs.
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Song skipping becomes central snag in launch of Apple streaming radio

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The pressure has been turned up for Apple to launch a streaming music component to iTunes after Google did so with their Play Music offering last week. Ideally, Apple wants to launch their service sometime this summer (perhaps with a WWDC unveiling), but coming to terms with major music labels hasn’t been easy. The latest butting of heads centers around licensing and royalty fees paid to the label for songs skipped.

Specifically, Sony Music, the world’s largest label, thinks Apple’s initial offer isn’t the best deal they can get, so the music house is holding out in hopes of a better offer. Not all major labels feel the same way, however. Apple reportedly struck a deal with Universal Music last week and is said to be close to signing with Warner Music Group.

It isn’t clear what terms Apple has distinguished for song skipping, but if its anything like Pandora’s model (the streaming service Apple’s is said to most resemble) royalties payments are fairly straight forward. Users can skip a song up to six times per station per hour (or twelve total skips per day, whichever comes first) and regardless of whether they listened to one second of audio or one minute, the label is due the full royalty payment.

So how can an offer get much better than that for Sony? Perhaps they are looking for a reduced number of permissible skips, but they would be hard pressed to ask for more cash if the standard is already to pay the full royalty (unless, of course, Apple has been offering a fraction of the royalty based on a song skip).

Nevertheless, it appears Sony and their issues with song skipping are the main snag holding up the launch of an iTunes-compatible streaming service. Other labels are excited to see the new platform launch, as they see its ties to one of the largest digital content stores as a way to drive additional revenues, especially considering the fast-growing internet radio sector.

[via CNET]

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