The Internet radio market is growing, and a new competitor is ready to shake things up in the space. The New York Times reports that Apple wants a piece of the pie in a market segment that has been dominated by Pandora.
“Apple plans to develop a service that would compete with Pandora Media by sending streams of music customized to users’ tastes, three people briefed on the plans said late Thursday,” The Times reports. “Apple, which has already dominated the field of digital music with its iTunes store, is in the early stages of negotiating with the major record labels for the service, and the full scope of its plans were not clear, according to these people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private.”
The planned service is expected to be based on a preinstalled app on the iPhone, iPad and other devices, and might link with customers’ iTunes accounts to help determine their taste in music, the story notes.
“By offering streams customized to each user, Apple’s program would compete with Internet radio services like Pandora, Slacker and iHeartRadio, which is offered by the radio giant Clear Channel Communications,” the story says. “But while most such services operate under limited licenses that restrict what they can do with the music — for example, limiting the number of times songs by particular artist can be played within an hour — Apple is seeking direct licenses with record labels that would give the company more flexibility in using music, according to the people briefed on its plans.”
The report adds: “Like Pandora, Apple’s radio service would have advertising, carried through Apple’s iAd platform. Whether Apple would then share part of the ad revenue with labels, or pay them some other licensing fee, was unclear. It was also unclear whether the service would be free or require a subscription. Pandora with ads is free, although its users can pay $36 a year for a service that eliminates the ads.”