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iTunes Radio Was Set To Launch In 48 Hours, Until....

image from of a behind the scenes musical drama in the days just prior to Apple's iPad mini event are surfacing,  and the offer a rare look at just how important music still is to Cupertino's strategy.  Apple's share of tablet sales have fallen to below 60% and the company wants to stop the exodus. Their new smaller iPad Mini - which also happens to be a great music and media controller - is central to that strategy.

Launching a new iTunes radio service - rumored to be more of a robust Pandora than Spotify-like - alongside the iPad Mini would have made perfect sense. Music is universal.  Music build loyalty.  But as with anything involving music licensing, getting a deal done takes time

"(Apple) said they really needed an answer on this in 48 hours, because if this wasn’t resolved in 48 hours they would have to wait a few more months," Sony/ATV chief Marty Bandier told MusicWeek. "We obviously couldn’t be rushed into making a very serious decision about that and they weren’t ready to have the deal done with the record companies so it was kind of like a non-event."

Bandier is still ready to make a deal with Apple: "Sure we will work out an appropriate license.”

When will iTune's radio launch?  If Bandier is right, "a few more months" means early next year.  But it could also come later this month, when Apple says it will be releasing the delayed iTunes 11, reportedly a major overhaul.