Apple, whose iTunes store is already a dominating force in the digital music industry, apparently now has plans to shake up the competition in Internet radio by developing their own service similar to Pandora that would stream music customized to users’ tastes.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Apple is in the early stages of negotiating with record labels for the service, although the full scope of their plans are unclear. Three people involved leaked the information, but asked to remain unidentified since the negotiations are private. Apple has declined to comment.
According to the sources, the streaming service will be available across the board on iOS and Mac OS devices, and possibly also PCs. It will likely have the option to create virtual stations on request and could potentially link to users’ iTunes accounts to determine preferences. Apple is also rumored to be seeking licenses directly with music labels that would let them air songs more frequently and allow for additional interactivity.
A customized streaming music service like this would directly compete with existing Internet radio services like Pandora, who pays royalties based on rates set by the federal government to get limited access. If Apple is able to offer additional features through better licenses with record companies, it could potentially crush the competition.
As negotiations are ongoing it is unlikely anything will be launched for months at least, but even just the rumors of a rival service from Apple are already having an impact as Pandora’s shares in the market tumbled 14 percent in premarket trading this morning.