Music publishers have been trying to stop Pandora Media from playing their tunes on the largest US internet radio service, but a US District Judge in Manhattan has put an end to the licensing argument, allowing Pandora to play songs “unambiguously” until 2015, Reuters reports.
While the ruling music streaming service can breathe a sigh of relief for now, another opponent just entered the game: iTunes Radio, which became available today with the release of Apple’s new operating system, iOS 7. While Pandora streamed 1.3 billion hours of music to 72.1 million people last month, analysts and investors are betting big that iTunes Radio will be a hit—and pose a serious threat to Pandora’s streaming success. For one thing, Apple’s iTunes store “already boasts 575 million iTunes accounts linked to credit cards,” while Pandora “has only 3 million paying subscribers,” Motley Fool notes.[more]
In addition, iTunes Radio has a few big brands shelling out $10 million and more to be launch partners, including PepsiCo, Proctor & Gamble, Nissan, McDonald’s, and Macy’s, according to Ad Age. “We’ve worked with all of them,” said Frank Cooper, PepsiCo’s CMO for global consumer engagement. “We looked at the devices Apple has and the number of subscribers that they have overall on iTunes. Just in terms of infrastructure, we think they have the chance to be the biggest.”
Not to be outdone, Pandora released its own iPad app update today along with a refreshed visual identity, dubbed “lights”—a move its says was purely coicidental.
“We started work on the update to the Pandora brand and identity about a year ago,” Pandora CTO and EVP of Product told Mashable. “I wish I could tell you that my predictive powers were such that I knew back then that all of this would intersect with the iOS 7 launch to the day – but we’re not quite that good.”
The new iPad app now provides “many of the features that are now available on the Web version of Pandora—like song lyrics, album information, a list of similar artists and the ability to share a song or station on Facebook and Twitter,” according to The Huffington Post. Also moving to the iPad is Music Feed, a social network for music lovers that is already active on Pandora’s desktop, iPhone, iPod, and Android versions.
Pandora also named a new CEO last week, and so far, investors seem to feel confident. On Tuesday, its stock hit its highest price point since its IPO in late 2011, at $25.05 per share, and its value has more than doubled in the last year.
Still, Apple isn’t just launching iTunes Radio on a whim. Apple Insider notes that the company has hired “a number of genre experts in order to give its music streaming service a human touch that competitors might not easily be able to match.” Apparently, the company needs extra help with Latin, alternative, and metal musical interests.