- Wall Street Journal reports Apple is in talks to create a custom-radio service, much like Pandora
- Report suggests the new service might be part of iTunes, rather than a separate app
On Thursday, "people familiar with the matter" told the Wall Street Journal that Apple is currently in talks to create a custom-radio service, much like Pandora.
The same WSJ sources reported that such a service would work on Apple hardware "and possibly on PCs running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows operating system" suggesting the new service might be part of iTunes, rather than a separate app.
The radio-streaming service would not work on devices running Google's Android, sources said.
Apple's bid for a radio-streaming service might be a defensive measure against the growing popularity of Pandora and Spotify, and it may not be a guaranteed money maker for the company. The WSJ notes that Pandora has yet to report a profit despite a revenue growth of 51 percent, largely because royalty costs for streaming music are so high.
But Apple may come out swinging in order to avoid Pandora's struggle. The WSJ's sources indicated that, "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," and Apple is, "negotiating for its own licensing deals with record companies," rather than paying royalty rates set by the federal government, like Pandora does.
Rumors in 2010 suggested that Apple had its eyes on offering a music streaming service, but nothing quite like Pandora has ever panned out for Apple. Instead, in 2011, Apple "clarified" to the Financial Times that it was focusing on making it possible for users to store their music remotely, rather than trying to open a music streaming service that would cannibalize it's profit off music downloads.
The WSJ noted that Apple only recently started licensing negotiations but, "people familiar with the current talks say they appear to be more serious than those previous tentative inquiries."
Best not to expect any grand announcements at the September 12 event.