It was only a matter of time before Apple got into the music streaming business.
Apple is still the predominant music store for downloads. It owns the most popular devices in the iPhone, iPad, and iPod and has built close relationships with the labels.
It makes sense for iTunes to turn the industry on its head again. I don’t think we’ll see traditional web radio at play like Pandora but a more mixed streaming model like Spotify with an ad supported radio option.
Apple will use its power to establish a blanket license for streaming music. It can use some of its $100 Billion to subsidize content at break even so it can sell even more devices.
It’ll be interesting to how Apple plans to socialize the platform since Ping was a failure. It has a much more amicable relationship with Facebook now that Facebook is native to iOS 6. Similarly, Apple could expand upon its close Twitter relationship with some type of emdeddable music tweets.
There’s no short of listening innovation here. A revamped iTunes directly threatens Spotify and Pandora. Apple holds all the cards in ushering in the next phase of the music industry.