The price of success for Apple

If Apple can pay the record labels more than the law requires and still make a profit, why should the law continue to allow other web-radio services to pay less?

What comes next for Apple and Beats?

Whatever Apple ends up doing in the streaming space, improving the nexus between music discovery and music acquisition is likely to be a big part of it. Maybe iBeats by Dre is the part of the answer.

Music streaming’s moment of truth

The music streaming deals struck over the next few months could go a long way toward determining which streaming service providers succeed and which don’t, as well as the long-term value of those rights to the labels.

Apple iTunes radio inches closer

Apple is unlikely to launch an advertising-only streaming service a la Pandora given that no one –including Pandora — has been able to make money that way. The more likely scenario is that Apple will launch some sort of hybrid service that involves advertising, paid subscriptions, and the ability to purchase instantly via iTunes the song you just heard on the streaming radio channel.

Apple about to earn its radio license?

Unlike the TV business, where the networks and studios still cling rigidly to the existing licensing model favoring traditional, linear pay-TV distributors over other platforms, the record labels have lately grown far-more flexible in how, and to whom they license content.

Paying to play: The fight over online music

That shift in listening from recordings to streaming services marks an acceleration and amplification of the broader shift in the music business from a an economy based on the sale of goods to one based on access to performances. And it is fueling the fight now erupting on Capitol Hill over the royalty rates assigned to different types of performances.

Today in Connected Consumer

Shares of Pandora were getting hammered this morning in the wake of a Wall Street Journal report that Apple is in talks with the major record companies about launching an ad-supported rival to the internet radio service. Though Pandora has more than 54 million users, making it by far the biggest music streaming service, Apple’s huge installed base of MP3 players, smartphones, tablets and laptops could make it a formative competitor. The question that has everyone puzzled this morning, however, is why? Why would Apple want to get into the ad-supported streaming business by creating a competitor to Pandora, especially when it could simply buy Pandora for what, to Apple, would be walking-around money? As an initial matter, the whole thing sounds far more exploratory at this point than real, but as for why streaming, Apple can see which way the online music wind is blowing these days as well as anyone, and it’s not blowing in the direction of the iTunes Music Store. As for why build instead of buy, the Journal report answers the question obliquely, noting the Apple is seeking to negotiate licenses directly with the labels rather than rely on the compulsory license Pandora relies on, with its attendant royalty structure that make it difficult if not impossible to make money in internet radio.