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Apple To Crush Pandora After Occupying Wall Street

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Julian Sonny

Pandora (P) bearishness, like so many unfortunate Internet memes, continues to take on a life of its own. Each day, multiple times, the same article gets written.

They tend to follow a series of simplistic, chewed up, not properly digested and spit out themes that focus on barriers to entry, competition, profitability and royalty rates in the Internet radio space.

Often, authors of these stories fail to get their facts straight.

We all make factual errors from time to time. That’s expected. It comes with the territory, and is totally human. But there’s just some stuff that’s unacceptable.

Consider this Seeking Alpha article written by somebody named “Henry Stokman.”

In Can Apple Revolutionize The Music Industry Again?, Stokman writes: “All of this iPhone hype has overshadowed a press release that Apple made two weeks ago stating that the company intends to set up a music streaming site similar to that of Pandora.”

Later, Stokman refers to Apple’s “announcement” as “really” having “said very little.”

It said “very little” because no press release or announcement from Apple (AAPL) actually exists on the matter. A report in The Wall Street Journal stoked a rumor that Apple is in talks with music industry representatives and might start a Pandora-like service.

Stokman’s phantom press release reference comes on the heels of other bearish takes with titles ranging fromPandora Facing Potential Apple Competition to Buying Pandora is a Big Mistake to my favorite, Pandora to Get Destroyed By Apple Radio.

The reports of Pandora’s death have been greatly exaggerated.

Channeling more Mark Twain, here’s one for Stokman: Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

Bearishness, even blatant inaccuracies, all of this noise, whether from professional analysts such as Richard Greenfield at BTIG Media or elsewhere, has provided Pandora bulls with ample buying opportunities under $10 per share. So, in that respect, it’s all good.

At some point, however, somebody has to call the perps out for their inanity.

Consider the notion of Apple “revolutionizing” the music industry.

I have as much respect for Apple, if not more, as the next guy, but, copying Pandora hardly qualifies as revolutionary.

As I pointed out in the above-cited article, the biggest threat Pandora faces is removal from Apple’s iPhone. In that piece, however, I discuss obvious reasons why it’s highly unlikely that Apple would banish Pandora or any other streaming music service from its platform.

It makes no sense for Apple to squash one of the things that works so well for iPhone and iPad users — the relationships they have forged with apps such as Pandora, SpotifySlacker and Songza.

Speaking directly to the tired old competition and barriers to entry arguments …

First, an Apple streaming service alongside other music apps or via iTunes does not kill the other apps.

While not quite the Pandora knockoff the Journalspeculates about, iTunes already contains features, such as Genius and iTunes DJ, that offer personalization, though not nearly as sophisticated as Pandora’s Music Genome Project. For as long as I remember, iTunes has provided access to live radio across formats and geographies.

You cannot simply flip a switch and replicate what Pandora has built over the last decade. Apple knows this. And if Tim Cook disrespects it, he’s making a miscalculation Steve Jobs likely would have never entertained.

Second, and maybe most important, Pandora generates revenue by eating away at terrestrial radio’s $16 billion advertising market. It executes what amounts to a traditional radio sales model — agency sales, resellers and actual living breathing humans meeting, face-to-face, with local businesses across the country.

It requires infrastructure and a considerable investment/commitment to build out that infrastructure. Obviously, Apple is more than capable of doing this. And the cash required presents no problem. That said, to offset Pandora’s first mover advantage it takes time I am not sure Apple wants to invest in a business that would barely register on its quarterly report.

AAPL is on a roll. I can’t keep my kid off of her iPad or iPod Touch. I sleep next to my Macbook Pro with Retina Display. And I am one of millions waiting for iPhone 5 to arrive. With the stock crossing $700 in Monday’s after hours trading, Apple is about to Occupy Wall Street.

Let’s keep things in context, though.

Most of all, don’t put words into Apple’s mouth. If they have something to announce, they’ll have an event or issue an official press release.

via The Street

Julian Sonny

Julian Sonny

Editor

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