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Talk about perfect timing. Just days ahead of this year's WWDC, AllThingsD reported that Sony signed an agreement affirming its participation in Apple's highly anticipated free music streaming service this morning. With that signature, Apple now has the blessing of all three major record labels to proceed with the project, making it extremely likely that we'll hear an official announcement (but not a launch) at WWDC.
Earlier in the week Apple managed to snag a signature from Warner Music Group, and last month it reached an agreement with Universal Music Group. Sony, however, had long established itself as the most significant hurdle over the last year, as it repeatedly expressed its concerns with issues such as the service's planned inclusion of an option to skip songs such as you see in Pandora. In a nutshell, Sony wanted to get paid regardless of how long a user listened to a song. We currently don't know how the issue was resolved.
Indeed, Apple plans to use the unnamed service (known colloquially as "iRadio") to directly compete with Pandora and similar streaming services, and, much like Pandora, Apple will use audio advertisements to support the service. According to AllThingsD, the service's functionality will sit somewhere between the randomness of Pandora and the specificity of Spotify.
Not to be outdone, Google also released a free music streaming service of its own with the decidedly unweildy name Google Play Music All Access, set for release on iDevices in the next month or so.
Follow this article's writer, Leif Johnson, on Twitter.