Once again, word on the web is that Apple
is getting ready to launch a streaming music service, which it could announce at its upcoming Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). According to various reports, Apple recently inked a deal with Warner Music Group that would give the company a 10 percent stake, following a similar deal with Universal Music Group several weeks ago. Sony, for the time being, has yet to jump on board.
We've heard rumors of Apple launching a streaming music service before, but never ones this specific or this far along in negotiations. Pandora's
shareholders certainly believe there's truth to the rumor and have been dumping stock in anticipation of what could be a game changing launch. Shares of Pandora are currently trading for around $15.25, down more than 10 percent over its closing price before the weekend.
The Wall Street Journal
claims the streaming music deal has been in the works for at least a year. The reason it's taking so long is because the major music labels have been negotiating three separate issues: royalty rates, a guaranteed minimum payment in case Apple decides not to sell ads at the get-go, and at which point Apple will split ad revenue with the labels.
Services like Pandora, Slacker, and Spotify could be in trouble if Apple enters the fray. Furthermore, Google recently announced
a streaming service of its own that runs $9.99/month, or $7.99/month if you start your free trial before the end of June and stay on as a member.