In an announcement that’s probably got Pandora nervous, there are multiple reports surfacing that Apple is launching a streaming radio service in the first three months of next year. Bloomberg reports that talks at the major labels have intensified, with the primary discussion centered around how to share ad revenue. While Spotify has become the de-facto leader in online streaming, Apple and iTunes are so ubiquitous that if the program is clean and easy to use, it could easily become a major player in the online streaming wars.
Sales of music on iTunes have slowed down, and if it’s as easy to buy something from iTunes that you’re hearing streaming, that could at least temporarily pick things up a bit. Apple is also trying to have a little more flexibility than Pandora, which limits how many tracks can be skipped per hour and how many times an artist will come up in an hour. Sources told Bloomberg that Apple is hoping to create an app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, as opposed to delivering music through a web browser. The app would also be able to be integrated with Apple’s iAd mobile advertising platform. Shares of Pandora have fell 18% this year.