By early 2014, Apple’s iTunes Radio is going to expand to both the U.K. and Canada — before Pandora, according to a Bloomberg report from people with knowledge of the situation. Apple’s iTunes Radio will also be expanding to Australia and New Zealand, where Pandora already exists, and is targeting other Nordic countries around that same timeframe. According to the same source, Apple is moving faster than Pandora because it forged agreements for international rights with Vivendi SA (VIV)’s Universal Music Group and other record companies.
There is no doubt Apple has an opportunity and the reach to trump other music streaming services, especially when its using the same roll-out strategy applied to the global expansion of the iTunes Store, now available in more than 175 countries. If the same success is expected from Apple’s iTunes Radio roll out, streaming radio rivals have some serious competition. Apple already has the platform to expand at a quick clip, with a large and loyal user base of device owners. Pandora and the rest of the streaming music providers have a tough battle uphill in beating off iTunes Radio, and we’re saying that even though Pandora is the current industry leader.
Lets recap the streaming music service showdown, shall we?
iRadio vs Pandora vs Spotify : Music Streaming Showdown
iRadio: Music discovery based on previous song choices, purchases, and songs related to previous choices, Featured Station curated by Apple, easy to create own stations based on songs, genre, artists, albums you like and edit them while on the go, has Siri integration, exclusive listening to song or album premiers, Play More Songs Like this and Never Play this song features, and Edit Stations.
Pandora: Pandora podcasts, Facebook integration, skipping songs, Radio, built on the Music Genome Project, which uses a patented mathematical algorithm that scans over 400 musical attributes (like rhythm, tempo, syncopation, key tonality, vocal harmonies, etc.), to create customized “stations” based on a person’s music preference.
Spotify: Catalog, Playlist, Last.fm integration, Radio, Social media integration, Applications, Search and Discover, Follow and share.
Mobile app vs. ecosystem
Despite Apple’s fast-paced growth and global reach, Pandora is not going down without a fight. The long-standing music service has survived many of its early competitors like Rhapsody, returning higher than expected earnings earlier this year. According to SiliconANGLE contributing editor John Casaretto, Pandora’s success is due to its adaptability, making changes to its platform to streamline efforts around mobile, new pricing options and new leadership.
See Casaretto’s entire commentary below.
A dark horse in all of this Google, as it unveiled its $9.99 “AllAccess” music service at this years 2013 Google I/O conference. Additionally, Google-owned YouTube is seen as an alternative to Pandora and Spotify as a way for musicians to monetize their music portfolio. So one has to assume that Google’s “AllAccess” combo that unites YouTube and Android OS, will fit nicely into this streaming music battle at some point.
Google is positioning itself quite well with this platform approach, able to compete with Apple on two levels: the device and the services. That’s a perk absent from Pandora or Spotify, both relying solely on their software for distribution and monetization. While this streamlined approach could aid Pandora in remaining device and platform agnostic, it’s clear that Apple and Google have bigger goals, building music empires around their respective mobile ecosystems.