Apple To Launch Streaming Service in Early 2013? [video]

Last week, Apple announced its new iPad Mini, but the Silicon Valley giant is preparing a service that might have a much bigger impact on music listeners.

As Bloomberg points out, Apple Inc. has approached major record labels in order to generate support for the rollout of their new ad-funded streaming radio service, which could already arrive in the first three months of 2013. In true Apple fashion, the app will be tailored for its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, opposing a browser-based player.

This would signify a serious market rival for streaming services like Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio. Apple’s advantage is a simple but crucial one as the company already has extensive relationships with most major music labels thanks to iTunes, digital downloads, etc.

And the streaming service is just a progression of those relationships. While Pandora and many of its competitors, use a compulsory license to stream music to users, Apple is looking to forge direct deals with labels for more comprehensive and flexible licensing. Stay tuned.