How much should Apple have to pay Sony if they use a song on iRadio, but a listener hates it so much that they immediately skip to the next track? A common sense answer would be ‘nothing’ but in the high stakes world of music industry legal mumbo jumbo, common sense doesn’t apply… and Apple and Sony Music’s disagreement over the matter might delay iRadio from launching with iOS 7.
A new report by CNet says that Apple is struggling to come to an agreement with Sony over how much it should pay for songs that iRadio listeners have skipped through with only a small part of the track played. Obviously, Sony thinks that the amount should be on the higher end of the scale.
Obviously, Sony’s reticence to agree to Apple’s terms is pissing Cupertino off, but it’s also pissing off the other giants of the music publishing industry, like Universal Music and Warner Music Group. They’ve already signed up for iRadio on the dotted line, and they are super psyched to get iRadio out the door.
Small wonder. iRadio solves a major discoverability problem for music on iTunes. Once iRadio launches, every iOS device will have a Pandora-like service on it that will not only clue them in to new music based upon their tastes, but which will sell them that track or album with just a single tap. That makes iRadio a potentially much more lucrative opportunity for the music industry than something like Google Play Music All Access: iTunes downloads pay far richer royalties than the ephemeralness of pure streaming. Sony could be shooting itself in the foot here.