There’s more speculation on the to-and-fro of negotiations for Apple’s planned ‘iRadio’ streaming music service in the Financial Times, with label deals portrayed as a continued stumbling-block for Apple’s ambitions to launch the service this summer.

The FT claims that Universal Music is on board, Warner Music is “close to reaching agreement”, but that Sony Music is holding out for better terms.

The report also claims that Apple has raised its initial royalties offer of six cents per 100 track-streams to around 12.5 cents to match Pandora, but suggests that Sony and Warner are “pushing for better terms” still.

A share of iAd advertising revenues and guaranteed minimum payments are also on the table alongside the per-streams rate, with iRadio expected to be a free, ad-supported service rather than subscription-based.

Any one of these rumours could spawn hundreds of tech-blog posts, so you can imagine the online frenzy overnight. This time round, nobody’s talking about music publishers, despite major firms like Sony/ATV having spoken publicly in the past about their determination to also secure what they see as fair rates from iRadio.

A logical time to announce the service would be on 10 June alongside the unveiling of the iOS 7 software at Apple’s WWDC conference in San Francisco, but that’s a tight, tough deadline.

The negotiations are certainly important for the music industry: the innovative Nokia Music paved the way for this kind of free, device-embedded personal radio service, but Apple’s sheer scale – 300m iPhones, iPads and iPod touches running its latest iOS 6 software alone – makes iRadio a huge opportunity for rightsholders.

Yet with Google also in the mix with plans for its own streaming service (or services), and music rightsholders wary as ever of putting Apple in a dominant position, there are plenty more licensing twists and turns to come. And leaks, of course. Plenty more leaks.

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