Apple planning to take on Pandora and Spotify, report says

Apple iCloud musicApple is reportedly looking to establish itself in the music streaming space by taking on the likes of Pandora and Spotify, services which allow users to build customizable online ‘radio stations’ based on their personal music preferences.

Citing “people familiar with the matter”, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday evening that Apple’s free, ad-supported service will be made available across all of its hardware products, which include its mobile devices and Mac computers.

It could even be coming to PCs running Windows, though devices powered by Google’s Android OS would be excluded, the source told the WSJ. That doesn’t come as too much of a surprise, as Google and Apple continue their no-love-lost battle for supremacy in the mobile sector.

According to the WSJ, Apple is currently in talks with a number of music providers in an effort to hammer out licensing deals for the new service, though a launch is not expected for at least several months.

The WSJ points out that Apple could be a threat to existing services thanks to its firmly established and massive presence in online music sales and the fact that it already has such a large number of music-playing devices, such as the iPhone and iPod touch, in circulation.

Services like Pandora and Spotify, which stream songs based on a user’s existing tastes, have built up a steady following since arriving on the scene, with music fans able to access an enormous library of songs for free as long as they have a connection to the Internet.

But a quick look at the numbers show there could be rough waters ahead for these companies. Pandora has 54.9 million active users, while Spotify, which launched in the US last year, has 16 million. In comparison, there are more than 400 million iTunes accounts up and running. Do you think the Cupertino company will be able to blow away the competition with a streaming service of its own?