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Apple and Sony ‘iRadio’ Negotiations Stalling Over Skipped Songs

skipsEarlier today a report suggested that the launch of Apple’s upcoming streaming music servicedeemed “iRadio” may be delayed due to difficult negotiations with Sony Music and Warner Music Group.

CNET is offering some additional information on Apple’s trouble with Sony Music, explaining that the fees to be paid for skipped songs have become a point of contention between the companies.

Apple and Sony Music, the world’s second largest music label, are still trying to hammer out details over how much Apple would pay for songs that people listen to a fraction of and then skip, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

While Apple’s music service is said to be more similar to Pandora than Spotify, Apple does plan to deviate from Pandora’s rigid station-based listening rules by giving users extended control, like the ability to rewind or skip a song after listening to a small portion of it. Pandora limits its users to 12 skips per day and pays the full royalty rate for each skipped track.

Apple has faced continual struggles over pricing during negotiations, originally offering to pay just half of Pandora’s royalty rate while demanding more flexibility. The company later agreed to up its offered price, but it may not be willing to make further concessions as an Apple-branded music service offers additional perks that other music streaming sites can’t compete with, such as an established market for purchasing streamed tracks.

The stalled negotiations between Apple and Sony Music are annoying other labels, who are eager to see iRadio launch. Apple finalized an agreement with Universal Music earlier this month and is close to signing a deal with Warner Music Group, according to CNET‘s sources.

That skipping has become an issue is frustrating executives at the other labels because they see Apple’s free radio service as a potential boon for the music industry overall and are eager to help Apple get it launched.

Apple was pushing for a summer launch of iRadio, with possible plans to unveil the service at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in June, but it is unclear if the company will be able to meet that deadline.