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TheStreet Open House

Pandora, Spotify, Songza, Rdio: They'll All Punkslap iTunes Radio

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Most of the media has been approaching the conversation from the wrong angle. It's not about Apple (AAPL) crushing or killing anything or anybody. It's about Apple being something more than average in one of the most competitive and innovative spaces going -- Internet radio.

Stop and think about what Apple did at opening day of this week's Worldwide Developers Conference. Stop, think and take an objective look.

You have all of these innovative Internet radio services doing all of these exciting things. I'm not going to write reviews of Spotify, Songza, Rdio, Pandora (P) and the dozens of other platforms. If you read my work, you know where I stand on much of what's out there.

While I don't love every platform, I respect the entire sector. It's imaginative. It provides listeners with unlimited choice from several standpoints. How do you want to access your music? Under what conditions? Using which parameters? The consumer has never had more control.

Most assertions that Apple will "crush" this or that company rest on a semi-frozen Lake Erie. They hold up poorly to comparisons with what's out there. Apple will win simply because Apple is Apple. Internet radio reality -- and the facts -- do not support this contention.

Apple has a zillion credit card numbers in iTunes. That's not a reason why it will do radio well. It's simply something Apple can leverage to some extent as means to other ends. Of course the length of that extent depends on how well Apple does radio. And, remember, Apple is not in this to do radio, per se. At least not like Pandora -- as pure-play radio -- does or Spotify, Songza or Rdio -- as decidedly on-demand options -- do.

If Apple was in this to "do radio" or "do music" or anything like that, it would not have unveiled a Pandora knock off. It would have gone beyond. It would have done something different and better than what exists. Like it (or Steve Jobs) did with iPod (out with the Walkman), iPhone (out with BlackBerry) and iPad (out with traditional computing for many).

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