The Wall Street Journal and NY Times report Apple is preparing to launch its own ad-supported music discovery online radio service similar to Pandora and iHeartRadio’s offering.
The service, like the others, will feature advertising and will likely offer subscriptions for commercial-free listening. It’s likely that the service will piggyback off of iTunes, since there are already so many members of that service.
It will also likely be offered as an app and bundled into newer iPads and iPhones.
The New York Times reports Apple is in the early stages of negotiating with major record labels for the service.
The news sure hit Pandora stock hard. It dropped 16.71 for the day on Friday, when this news came out. CC Media, which owns iHeartRadio, was unchanged.
RBR-TVBR observation: This may actually be a bit of good news for radio. We’ve all been a little worried about the news of Apple’s recent streaming ad replacement patent—which would enable listeners to replace ads with their own favorite songs stored on an iPhone or iPad. Point being, if Apple launches its own music service, would it allow users to skip ads on its own service? We think not. Would Apple go so far as to only allow users to skip ads from other services like Pandora or Targetspot (inserting ads for a traditional radio station stream)? We think not. If that were the case, it would be sending listeners to Pandora, Spotify and iHeart to avoid the unblocked ads on its own service!