Ever since Spotify took off back in the heady days of 2008, there has been talk of an Apple music streaming service - dubbed iRadio by internet people - but despite the launch of sort-of-similar iTunes Match and rumour upon rumour, it's never quite happened.

But now Cnet reports that while Sony is still holding out, both Warner and Universal have pens hovering over the dotted lines for a deal thanks to some nifty new ways that Apple reckons it can eke money from music lovers.

These supposedly include giving labels a share of the money made from audio ads played on free accounts and making it super easy for you to buy a track from iTunes from within the music service.

So you could be streaming Chaka Demus and Pliers' seminal 1993 pop-reggae hit Tease Me on iRadio one minute, realise your music collection is in no way complete without it the next, and have bought your very own digital copy in a matter of clicks.

iTune-up

Apple can make this crazy quick and easy because iRadio will have iTunes - and your iTunes account - baked in. Incidentally, Spotify used to sell songs too, but retired the download service in January of this year - perhaps because it doesn't really work?

Despite previous speculation that the massive hold-up was due to Apple low-balling record labels with less-than-attractive royalty agreements, sources told Cnet that the deals are now more attractive than those offered by Pandora in the States.

So when will it launch? It's anyone's guess at this point, but word has it that Apple will unveil the service at WWDC in June, hoping to get it live in the US first, with the UK, France, Germany, Australia and Japan not far behind.

But, given the speed that this thing has moved thus far, you might be better off putting your money on an announcement made alongside a refreshed iPod range in September.