Even for Apple, this is a tough, if not impossible, nut to crack.
Then, there's the issue of cutting royalty deals with labels.
The labels have little reason to give Apple what it wants: more flexibility than Pandora and a lower royalty rate in exchange for a share in ad revenue.
Apple has fleeced the music guys before. Now, like television executives in Hollywood, the labels are playing hardball on a deal.
If Apple really wants to do this, it likely will hammer out an agreement, but Pandora doesn't go away the day Apple signs on. The Apple competitive threat poses no more of a threat than dozens of others already in the marketplace.
promotes its iHeartRadio 24/7 on roughly 850 radio stations across the country broadcasting to 237 million listeners each month, and it has had virtually no impact on Pandora's growth.
The present debate over royalties and progress of the Internet Radio Fairness Act in Congress should (and does) concern Pandora as well as investors more than any competitive encroachment.
That's what needs to end well.
At the time of publication, the author was long P