Labels, publishers hope Apple can be as powerful a force in radio as it’s been in music

Yesterday we extensively covered (here) Apple’s iPhone event and the company’s announcement that iTunes Radio will become available in the U.S. on September 18 (one week from today). While CEO Tim Cook and other presenters focused more on the new iPhones, the presentation (Apple has posted video here) did conclude with a performance by Elvis Costello, who closed with a “proto” version of his early-career classic “Radio, Radio” called “Radio Soul.”

Warner Music Group EVP/Digital Strategy Stephen Bryan thinks the launch of iTunes Radio could be a real inflection point for radio’s, and music’s, future. He told The New York Times, “It’s a huge opportunity on a global basis to accelerate the transition of radio listeners and advertising dollars from terrestrial to digital.”

Labels and publishers, writes The Times, are counting on Apple’s “immense marketing power” to bring in more advertising money, and thus more royalty revenue, by becoming a leader in Internet radio in the U.S., and eventurally, around the world. (The service will launch in the U.S. only at first, but keep in mind that Apple operates iTunes Music Stores in 119 countries.)

Research firm eMarketer VP Clark Fredricksen doesn’t think Apple can simply waltz in and knock Pandora off the throne in the U.S., however. “At this point Pandora is one of the leading recipients of mobile advertising revenue, and is one of the most popular apps, period, across devices,” he told the paper. “It’s tough to see it getting killed.”

Coverage from The New York Times is here.

Paul Maloney