For the last few years, it has been widely speculated that Apple is working on a Pandora-like music streaming service.
The Wall Street Journal now reports that even Google is working on a similar service for its Android operating system.
Google already offers a scan-and-match service like iTunes Match and a music download store, so this seems like the next logic step. The Wall Street Journal reports:
Google Inc.’s Android unit has been negotiating with music companies to start a paid subscription music-streaming service akin to Spotify AB, according to people familiar with the matter.
Separately, Google’s YouTube video website is trying to obtain licenses from music labels to start a paid subscription service for music videos and potentially also for audio-only songs, these people said.
Back in October, Bloomberg had reported that Apple may launch the service in the first quarter of this year. Apple is reportedly working with record labels to get a more permissive license than the one Pandora gets, so that users can you play the same song multiple times. Apple’s custom-radio service is likely to come bundled with iOS devices like iPhones and iPads.
Though it’s quite difficult to make money in the ad-supported music streaming service, it makes sense for Apple and Google to bundle the service with devices as it could drive more stickiness to their platform and encourage more hardware sales.
We’ll have wait and see who launches the service first.