Apple to Launch a Pandora Competitor Next Week?

Apple is said to be getting into the music streaming business and there’s a chance we’ll hear more about it at the iPhone 5 launch event next week. As you may recall I surmised Apple would get into the home streaming market when it purchased LaLa in December of 2009. At the time I thought they would likely compete with Sonos and moreover mentioned there would be obvious implications for Pandora and the rest of the group.

Integration with iOS and possible tight links with iTunes were some of the areas of differentiation I pointed out we may see.

Now reports are surfacing that Cupertino is in talk with record labels to potentially get better licensing terms than competitive services which pay for content based on pricing set by an arm of the federal government.

The point is that Apple is potentially going to take the $80M it spent on LaLa and come out with a service which could potentially wipe out competitors who are already struggling to make money. This could result in the industry trying to renegotiate terms or perhaps the landscape will be cleared leaving just companies with other businesses to subsidize their streaming activities. You know, Amazon, Microsoft and Google.

Although there is no news about Apple getting into the home entertainment streaming market – if you couple this service with AirPlay you have a similar offering to Sonos. Moreover, Apple will likely parlay this offering with Genius integration to provide users with video entertainment based on user preferences. Of course they desperately trail YouTube in terms of content but they have the relationships with the studios which will allow them access to virtually all professional video content out there.

See also: Nexus Q: Google’s Lateral Move into the Home Entertainment Ecosystem

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