The New York Times is reporting that Apple's much-rumoured music streaming service may soon be ready — even in time for next week's WWDC — thanks to the company finally signing contracts with major music labels.
The report suggests that Apple signed a deal with the Warner Music Group over the weekend for both recorded music rights and music publishing. It also apparently cemented an agreement with Universal Music Group over recorded music rights — but remains in discussion with Sony Music Entertainment. If it can snag the third it's home and dry, because together those three dominate the music market.
It is, of course, unclear exactly how the oft-rumoured Apple music streaming service could turn out if it does materialise. But there does seems to be general consensus that it will be an internet radio service, differentiating itself from the like of Spotify and Rdio, and inevitably bad news for Last.fm and others. Indeed, the licensing fees paid by Internet radio providers like Pandora in the US have caused some heartache among music companies, who may now be softening to Apple's advances as a result — even if it is gunning to keep costs down.
As for the arrival of such a service at WWDC next week, well, it's an optimistic rumour. But if Apple does manage to have the majority of contracts in place ahead of June 10th it's not beyond the realms of possibility. Either way, we don't have too long to wait before we find out. [New York Times]