Apple has been working on beefing up its iTunes experience for quite some time, and now it looks like the Cupertino company is looking to create a Pandora-like internet radio service. Users would be able to create stations for favorite artists or songs, and Apple would presumably use its Genius algorithm to stream related music. The service would be free and available on all Apple devices, but iAds would be interspersed throughout as a means of monetization.
The Wall Street Journal reports:
Apple Inc. is in talks to license music for a custom-radio service similar to the popular one operated by Pandora Media Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, in what would be a bid by the hardware maker to expand its dominance in online music.
Apple’s service would work on its sprawling hardware family, including the iPhone, iPads and Mac computers, and possibly on PCs running Microsoft Corp.’s Windows operating system, according to one of these people. It would not work on smartphones and tablets running Google Inc.’s Android operating system, this person added, highlighting the mounting battle for mobile dominance between the two technology giants.
The report notes that Apple only recently began talking with record labels about licensing, and it’s a “matter of months” before the service would launch.
Reaffirming earlier reports, The Journal says that Apple has worked on a Spotify-like music streaming service in the past. Whether such a service ever comes to fruition or not, Apple is at least trying to make this Pandora-style radio service as awesome as possible.
The licenses Apple is seeking may let it sidestep certain restrictions that typically apply to online radio, including a ban on playing any given song too frequently. Such a difference could make Apple’s service more of a direct competitor to terrestrial radio, which typically repeats a small number of hit songs.
It doesn’t look like we’ll see this product at the iPhone 5 event next week, but expect some big things from iTunes in the months ahead.
Update: The New York Times also says that Apple has a Pandora-killer in the works, also noting that we probably won’t see the new service next week.