The Wall Street Journal is reporting from sources that claim to be “people familiar with the matter” that Apple is currently in talks to possibly create a custom radio streaming service to rival Pandora. Pandora Radio was launched in January of 2000, using the information gathered from the Music Genome Project, an ambitious project designed to find the similarities in every song imaginable, and map out certain trends and instrumental themes in music. It is this technology that allows Pandora to play music that sounds like the song or artist you picked.
The Wall Street Journal also reported that the new Pandora rival could function on Mac OS devices as well as replacing the Pandora app on iPhone and iPad “and possibly on PCs running Microsoft Corp’s Windows operating system” implying that it may be an app or feature found in iTunes instead of being a separate Mac Application.
The news of a possible competitor from tech giant Apple did not fare well for Pandora Radio. After the Wall Street Journal article was published, stocks opened 16% lower and then went on trade 20% lower on news that Pandora might be beat. Another option would be for Apple to merely buy Pandora out, however that option comes with a steep $1.7 billion price tag. Even for a company with a ridiculous amount of cash on hand, that’s still a big number. If Apple wants to beat Pandora then they need to come up with something will overcome 10 years worth of Pandora fans. Pandora sports 54 million users, however if Pandora or the rival app becomes part of iTunes then Apple will be reaching hundreds of millions of users overnight with the priceless credibility that comes with iTunes.