Internet radio has been at the forefront of the mobile war.
One of the key features of Apple’s (AAPL) iOS 7 was iTunes Radio, and Google (GOOG) was in the headlines at the start of the week after releasing its own Google Play Music app for iOS. And Rdio — the streaming music service start-up co-founded by the guy behind Microsoft’s (MSFT) Skype service — grabbed attention when it announced it was laying off staff.
Internet radio services are stuck with high costs (music licensing fees), but there’s significant advertising potential too. According to eMarketer, advertising spending for Internet radio in the U.S. is expected to hit $970 million this year, growing to $1.31 billion by 2016. Premium subscriptions and “purchase now” options also bring in revenues.
The battlefield is growing, with industry leaders like Pandora (P) and Spotify facing competition from tech giants Apple and Google. And given the music industry pressures for higher song licensing fees, now would be a good time to review the current state of Internet radio.
The market is a crowded one, with dozens of players, but here are five Internet radio services currently in the spotlight.