WSJ: Apple in talks to build internet radio service

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
A new report on Thursday claims Apple is looking to create a streaming radio service to rival current offerings like Pandora in a supposed attempt to protect its position as the world's largest music dealer.

Apple is in talks with content owners to license music to be used in a custom radio service similar to Pandora, according to Wall Street Journal sources.

People familiar with Apple's plans said the purported internet-based service will focus on virtual stations to play music on a web browser or dedicated apps, though Android is reportedly not getting access. Advertisements from Apple's iAd platform are expected to be incorporated into the service in exchange for free user access.

Customizable internet radio stations are nothing new, as current offerings from Pandora, Spotify, Rdio and others have been active for years, both as internet clients and as apps. Apple too has previously been rumored to have exhibited interest in such a service given its already substantial presence in digital music distribution, though the whispers never panned out.

Perhaps most significant are the types of licenses Apple is reportedly going after. Sources said the company is looking to hammer out deals which would allow users to skip songs and eliminate other common restrictions on internet radio services. If such a feature were to be implemented, the alleged service would have a leg up on rivals that charge users a subscription fee in return for unlimited skips.

One source said Apple considered competing in the internet radio market in the past as a way to help users discover new music, but ultimately scrapped the plans due to high licensing costs. The company instead turned its attention to the Genius recommendation system, which offers song suggestions based on customer purchases.

iPod nano Radio


The sources claimed Apple's most recent discussions appear to be the most earnest attempt yet to get such a program off the ground, but note talks have only just begun and are unlikely to bear fruit for months, if at all.

Apple currently offers FM radio on its iPod nano products, while other iDevices like the iPhone can run apps that provide "internet radio channels," or customized music streams based on user-defined preferences. For example, Pandora relies on a "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" method to calculate a user's tastes, referencing likes and dislikes with the so-called "Music Genome Project," a system of assigning songs attributes to give them a "musical identity."

It is unclear what algorithm Apple intends to use in customizing users' stations, though it is likely that the company will leverage assets from the aforementioned Genius service.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 28
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member
    As a consumer I'd rather something more akin to Spotify. Pandora is a great service, no need for Apple to make a Pandora clone. Spotify on the other hand is a great idea but a bad service.
  • Reply 2 of 28


    Apple already has one. iTunes. Since version 1… Unless this is one of those "pay for whatever and you get to listen to the song you want" systems. I've never understood those, but that's just me.


     


    And why would Apple want to put advertisements in a new one? They're sort of completely and utterly against that in all the other media they sell in iTunes. 

  • Reply 3 of 28


    There are a million offerings, and Spotify is starting to hurt everyone else on their own. iTunes already has radio, not seeing it.

  • Reply 4 of 28


    Nope. Thanks though.

  • Reply 5 of 28


    It's probably a streaming music app for iOS 6 and the iPod Nano since it's rumored to have WiFi.

  • Reply 6 of 28


    I have internet radio on all of the time. I like several but the ones that bug me are the ones that stop and ask if you're still there. Pandora does that. AOL Radio just stops but they give more hours before doing so. I haven't tried Spotify. Apple has it's iTunes radio station list. I used that until my iTunes program died when there was a power failure here. If I can ever get it working again I'll use it. One problem with free online radio stations is they repeat the same tunes in the same play list all the time. Some of them don't change the list or add to it for six months at a time.

     

  • Reply 7 of 28
    tylerk36tylerk36 Posts: 1,037member


    Thats awesome.  Now if they could only put a radio into the iPhone so when I am exercising I could listen to my favorite radio station.

  • Reply 8 of 28
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    tylerk36 wrote: »
    Thats awesome.  Now if they could only put a radio into the iPhone so when I am exercising I could listen to my favorite radio station.

    I've wanted that for the gym since the TV audio uses FM radio frequencies. When you're on certain equipment there are headphone jacks but I'd like to have one for moving around the free weights and keeping my iPhone connected. That said, I'm pretty sure if they haven't done that now with FM radio they won't ever do it.
  • Reply 9 of 28
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by tylerk36 View Post


    Thats awesome.  Now if they could only put a radio into the iPhone so when I am exercising I could listen to my favorite radio station.



     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    I've wanted that for the gym since the TV audio uses FM radio frequencies. When you're on certain equipment there are headphone jacks but I'd like to have one for moving around the free weights and keeping my iPhone connected. That said, I'm pretty sure if they haven't done that now with FM radio they won't ever do it.


     


    I have Apps that stream the local radio stations I like, they are free, check the App store.


     


    The only thing missing from some of them are live sports broadcasts due to licensing restrictions, however they continue to play music and ads, lots of ads, apart from our government owned stations which are ad free.

  • Reply 10 of 28
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    hill60 wrote: »

    I have Apps that stream the local radio stations I like, they are free, check the App store.

    The only thing missing from some of them are live sports broadcasts due to licensing restrictions, however they continue to play music and ads, lots of ads, apart from our government owned stations which are ad free.

    I like the TV soundtrack while I'm at the gym. This may sound odd but some rerun of a sitcom on in the background makes my workout more enjoyable and seems to go faster. Seinfeld, for example. I think it's because I can be entertained without actually giving it too much attention.
  • Reply 11 of 28


    Whats is bad about Spotify? UI is amazing and it 'just works'. Infact I would say it out Apple's Apple by quite a wide margin.

  • Reply 12 of 28


    I'd love unlimited access to the whole iTunes catalogue for online and offline use for $4-5 a month.


     


    Like be a cut down version of Spotify using the iTunes user interface.

  • Reply 13 of 28


    Why not just buy Pandora? It's really not a good strategy to create new service to compete with Pandora directly, plus that'd just push Pandora to the Android platform entirely. 

  • Reply 14 of 28
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    Whats is bad about Spotify? UI is amazing and it 'just works'. Infact I would say it out Apple's Apple by quite a wide margin.



     


    It costs more than iTunes match $A144 vs $A35.


     


    It requires a credit card to subscribe, you can't use iTunes cards.


     


    In Australia the free service has no streaming unless you are at home and stream from a computer on the same wifi network, which is next to useless.

  • Reply 15 of 28
    dasanman69dasanman69 Posts: 12,973member
    tylerk36 wrote: »
    Thats awesome.  Now if they could only put a radio into the iPhone so when I am exercising I could listen to my favorite radio station.

    Have you checked to see if your favorite radio station has an app? Many stream via one.
  • Reply 16 of 28
    sockrolidsockrolid Posts: 2,788member


    Internet radio today.


     


    Internet television tomorrow.

  • Reply 17 of 28

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


    In Australia the free service has no streaming unless you are at home and stream from a computer on the same wifi network, which is next to useless.



     


    But you could just download your playlists to offline mode for the times when you are not on wifi.


    (if you have the premium service)

  • Reply 18 of 28
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


     


    But you could just download your playlists to offline mode for the times when you are not on wifi.


    (if you have the premium service)



     


    Why?


     


    I have thousands of songs in iTunes match, it would take years to listen to it all.


     


    My iPhone is almost full off Apps, I have to stream which, for the reasons I outlined before is not "that" attractive with Spotify.


     


    This is one of the alternative Apps I use:-


     


    http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/triple-j-unearthed-mobile/id348746923?mt=8

  • Reply 19 of 28

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by hill60 View Post


     


    Why?


     


    I have thousands of songs in iTunes match, it would take years to listen to it all.


     



    Horses for courses I suppose. It suits me down to the ground. I have no reason to take all by back catalog of tunes with me. I have been a DJ/Producer since early ninetees, no phone would ever fit my collection. What I listen to though on my phone is a small sub section, usually my favourite latest tunes, so does me good.

  • Reply 20 of 28


    Could be a good way for Apple to ensure their integration into the cars of the near future with streaming custom digital radio... for free, with Apple purchase of course.

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