Apple is pushing to launch an "iRadio" streaming service this summer.
Reports claim Apple may have been talking to major labels for the past few years about an on-demand streaming service. Previous rumors have suggested it could offer CD-quality music streams for those with high-speed internet connections, and adapt to lower bitrates on mobile devices with slower connections.
"iRadio is coming. There's no doubt about it anymore," a source told the Verge, who added that Apple is "pushing hard for a summertime launch."
While Apple's entry to the streaming arena might be good news for music fans, it could be bad news for musicians and songwriters. The New York Post has revealed that Apple plans to pay only 6 cents per hundred streams, which is half of what Pandora pays at 12 cents per stream.
Musicians have already been protesting against Pandora for its low royalty rates, with some leading songwriters protesting on Capitol Hill against their low earnings from the service.
But with the streaming pie growing bigger each year, there's hope for musicians and technology companies alike. Streaming services generated a total of $1 billion in 2012, and that's set to grow substantially as more people sign up and use online streaming as their standard method of music consumption.
The iRadio service could still hit some speed bumps before Apple's projected summertime launch. Apple has reportedly made progress in negotiations with two of the four major labels, Universal and Warner, but it is not clear what position the other majors will take. In addition, there is no word on any deal with independent music bodies.
Would you be tempted to use an HD-streaming service from Apple? What do you think of the royalty rates that artists make from streaming? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.