Apple’s (News - Alert) iTunes Radio was billed as a “Pandora Killer” even before it was available to the public. If the mere release in the United States was the death blow, then plans to roll out the service to English speaking countries outside the U.S. by 2014 will be the final nail in the coffin. Rumors began to fly earlier this week that iTunes Radio has been successful enough in the U.S. that it will be headed to the U.K. and Canada long before its main rival.
While the news about the United Kingdom and Canada is new, Apple had already made it clear it was getting ready to expand to Australia and New Zealand next year. That punch was considered less of a killer because Pandora (News - Alert) has already set up shop in those two countries. The same people who leaked the news about the expansions say that the Cupertino company is also looking to move its streaming music service into Nordic countries in early 2014.
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Apple has had the upper hand in the increasingly competitive streaming music market because of how it secures its music rights. Pandora has to rely on music rights that are granted by government agencies. That currently limits its reach to the U.S., New Zealand and Australia. Apple has secured rights directly from the music companies.
Pandora has evidently been watching what its top competitors do very closely over the last few months. On Sept. 1, the company removed the mobile listening cap after having it in place for just a few months. During that time period, mobile listeners were limited to 40 hours per month. Despite the cap drawing quite a bit of ire, the company claimed that only 4 percent of their listener base was actually affected.
While Pandora might be rattled in private, the company is putting on a brave face in public. At a Sept. 24 investor conference, founder Tim Westergren said that the company had no plans to expand to other countries.
“Our hope is just that over time, as the benefits of our service become more and more obvious and apparent, that artists in particular will agitate and help propel this adoption in other countries,” Westergren added.
Edited by Alisen Downey