All of you Apple fans who have been clammering for subscription to come to iTunes, that’s what Pandora is, and more…especially if you are looking for the social sharing promised by Apple’s Ping.

The future of music is not ownership, it’s subscription. That’s what the cloud is for – not to store a copy of all the music you already own for access elsewhere, but it’s a cute & expensive idea. Apple cannot have missed that, but I’m not sure that the data-center approach Apple has taken is the right strategy. Pandora, with it’s peer-to-peer model, may win the war. It certainly is much farther ahead of Apple, especially with it’s streamed licensing arrangements with the big music labels. When the labels figure it out, their fees will plummet as they race to prop up a true Apple competitor.

Pandora’s IPO could not be better timed. The liquidity that an IPO brings will give Pandora much deeper pockets to compete in this arena.

Let the games begin.

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