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With Apple still to secure licences for new look iTunes, will it meet June deadline?

By | Published on Wednesday 6 May 2015

iTunes 11

So, will Apple actually unveil the all-new iTunesBeatsStream service at its Worldwide Developers Conference next month, as has been expected for a while now? Well, there is some new doubt on that occurring, because it seems the IT giant is yet to secure all the licensing deals it needs from the music rights owners to enable the service to go live.

And while one source tells Billboard “if any company can pull it off, they can”, given how long the combined iTunes-Beats download/streaming platform has been in development, you have to think that if the tech firm was pushing for anything like a standard streaming deal it’d have the licenses pretty much in place already.

Though it could be that the respective deal makers at Apple and the majors are simply bluffing it out to see who’ll budge first on the main points of contention as the 8 Jun deadline approaches, the labels knowing that WWDC is a key date in the Apple calendar that is perfect for unveiling something as big as this, the tech firm knowing that the labels and publishers are secretly hoping it can help take subscription-based streaming truly mainstream.

Either way, 9to5Mac says that Apple remains bullish that all will be in place in time, so much so that the new look iTunes product is still in the schedule for WWDC, with the plan to put the new service live via updates to the iOS and iTunes software later in the same month. Presumably the major label source who told Billboard “June won’t be the release date – the deals aren’t done” just hopes his colleagues won’t be the first to flinch.

As previously reported, the flumps at Apple (I think we used up our entire swear budget for May in yesterday’s Daily) are reportedly being investigated for using their market dominance in the download sphere to try and persuade the majors to force Spotify et al to abandon the freemium level of their services, so to overhaul the market into which iBeats – which is only likely to offer personalised radio for free – will be unleashed.