Apple Inc.’s iTunes has finally made its way into the streaming game. ITunes Radio premiered with the release of the new iOS7 upgrade, and within the first five days, it had 11 million unique users.
As the leader in music sales, iTunes has a plethora of music to offer. However, most reviews of the new service have criticized that it is not as personalized as Pandora Media Inc. or Spotify Ltd. Apple advertises on it’s website that with each song that is played, your stations will become more and more tailored to your tastes. The more the radio is used, the more it will adapt to your preferences. Creepy, right?
ITunes Radio bases its song selection on the music in your library. The star to the left of the play/pause button allows you to decide if you want iTunes Radio to “play more like this,” “never play this song,” or add the song to your “iTunes wish list.” You can share stations with your friends via mail, message, Facebook or Twitter. As your taste develops on the new radio service, your friends will be able to follow your progression. This is the perfect feature to follow friends with good taste in music and for those lazy ones that never want to find their own tunes.
The new radio service is fully integrated with iTunes, making buying new music easier and more tempting than ever. The price of each song is located in the top right corner of the mobile screens, almost as if it is a constant reminder that you can still be spending more money, and why not give it to Apple?
ITunes Radio has over 250 stations, and you must have Wi-Fi or use your cellular data for it to work. You can skip six songs per hour per station, just like Pandora. Another shared feature are the ads, even though many users said that iTunes Radio had less. For $25 a year, you can store all of your music, not just iTunes-bought music, in the iCloud and enjoy ad-free radio with iTunes Match.
Where does this leave other streaming radio companies? The overwhelming response to the new service has left many wondering if Apple users will stop listening on their normal streaming service and switch to iTunes Radio.
“We believe iTunes Radio will only have a modest impact,” Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora, said at a conference on Sept. 24 in New York. He also said that Pandora has had many competitors, some bigger, and that they would prevail.
The aesthetics of the new iTunes Radio are pleasing, like most Apple products, but I wouldn’t be so quick to ditch Pandora or Spotify.