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Apple chatting up labels for Fanboi Radio: Pandora, boxed?

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Apple top brass have been chatting up music execs in efforts to get their backing - and tunes - for an Apple branded radio station, says the Wall Street Journal, also confirmed by the New York Times.

The putative Apple radio station would stream music related to a song initially chosen by the user - with song choice decided by an algorithm and the service supported by adverts and available on all Apple devices. Like iTunes it would potentially be available to PC users at some stage too. The labels presumably would get a cut of the income - though negotiations seem to be at early stages.

Apple's previous attempt at a music-recommendation based social network - Ping - failed badly. If the radio rumour is founded, then Cupertino high command obviously think that a radio station is the best way to complement iTunes and their online music sales empire.

Apple's position with iTunes gives them extra leverage when negotiating with the music industry - and the reports say that they are trying to strike special deals that would let them use the music more flexibly than other services can - allowing users to rewind and repeat songs for example.

If Apple do pull off recommendation radio, it will hit Pandora - a pioneer of the service - hard. The Pandora service - not available in the UK - is an internet radio station that works by auto-generating a playlist of recommended tunes. It would be hit hard by the introduction of an Apple-made competitor, commenters suggest.

Apple's putative radio station has also been touted as a threat to Spotify, but the Swedish company offers a different proposition - letting users download tracks paid for by monthly subscriptions and creating playlists - in many ways more of an iTunes rival. ®

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