Apple’s iTunes Radio is going to put Pandora into a world of hurt

“While Pandora has claimed that they’re not worried about Apple’s new venture… they should be,” Cameron Graham writes for technology Advice. “Pandora’s user base is only a little over a third of iTunes’ 575 million users. And since iTunes Radio will be built into iTunes, the service will be in the hands of practically every one of those users come September 18th.”

“Pandora is free to use, as long as you don’t mind the occasional ad. As of last month, they also lifted the 40-hour listening cap on their free service. If you do want to remove ads, however, a year of Pandora One will cost you $36,” Graham writes. “A year of ad-less iTunes Radio will be only $24.99… and will include a year of iTunes Match service which backs-up a user’s iTunes library to the cloud and allows streaming access (even for songs you didn’t purchase from iTunes). The lower price and streaming cloud service will be hard for Pandora to respond to.”

“Pandora’s catalog features around a 1 million songs,” Graham writes. “iTunes Radio however, has direct deals with all three major record labels and appears to be leveraging exclusive iTunes store content for radio use as well… Exclusive album releases and studio sessions will make their way onto the [iTunes Radio] service before they come out in stores. That’s a big win for a service whose point is to help users discover new music.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Opening the music app on an iOS 7 device, I was greeted by iTunes Radio asking if I was ready to try it out. As someone who listens to a lot of music and primarily uses streaming music services, radio has lost its appeal, but my initial intrigue gave way to some overwhelmingly positive first impressions,” Tyler Hayes writes for Fast Company. “Pushing buttons and navigating through the radio section of the former “iPod” app, everything isn’t just smooth and responsive, it’s also pleasant to use.”

“Everything about Radio is intuitive from the layout of featured stations to digging into a current song and seeing what other music the band has to offer.,” Hayes writes. “The design and goal is clearly focused on listeners purchasing music–but even so, iTunes Radio feels like the first truly modern take on what terrestrial radio wishes it could be… A ‘buy’ button lives next to every song, or a wish list one for those hesitant, and it feels like this is how modern radio should function.”

“The ability to look back, click on a song to hear a clip, and then buy it is the service’s crown feature,” Hayes writes. “If you’re currently listening to a station and click on a song in the history, it pauses the music, plays the clip, and then fades back to the stream when the clip is done. Exactly what you’d hope for and expect.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve been using Apple’s iTunes Radio all summer long, since it first became available in the iOS 7 beta, and it has provided us, family, and friends with many hours of enjoyment — without a hiccup. It is extremely well-thought-out and executed; one of Apple’s very best, it’s a prime example of company at the top of its game.

We haven’t touched Pandora since the day we first launched iTunes Radio. This situation will soon be repeated by millions of iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPod touch, Apple TV, Mac, and Windows PC users.

The pain looming for Pandora will be intense, especially as it quickly becomes a ghetto for Android settlers who simply do not buy products in the way that Mac and iOS users do. Music labels will take note and act accordingly.

Upon general release with iOS 7 on September 18, 2013, iTunes Radio will become the #1 Internet radio service in the U.S. and, likely follow suit in every country in which it debuts.

Related articles:
Anticipating customer surprise, Apple begins training support staff on iOS 7 and iTunes Radio – August 29, 2013
Pandora would be wise not to write-off Apple’s potent iTunes Radio – August 26, 2013
Apple’s iTunes Radio to debut in September with McDonald’s, Nissan, P&G, Pepsi sponsorships – August 21, 2013
Apple’s new iTunes Radio is designed to be the largest streaming radio service – July 13, 2013
Apple announces iTunes Radio – launches this fall – June 10, 2013

70 Comments

    1. Does your car radio have bluetooth? If so like mine your iOS device will play directly to your car stereo with music even if your iPhone is in your pocket. Mine does and it works great.

    1. Let me guess. You crap in your iToilet and clean your ass with your iPaper. Then, to freshen the air, your release your iFragrance from your iSprayCan. What a thrill it must be to be you.

  1. I love iTunes match, so having ad-free radio is just a bonus. I can’t stress how good this is to anyone on that’s on the fence over spending the money. It syncs up all you songs (most of them anyway—depends on rarity) and allows you to download a pristine copy off their servers at a high bitrate. The reason this is important is, you can download better versions of all your early, super small MP3s.

    (To do this, you have to make sure the song is backed up in the cloud. Once you’re sure of that, you just need to delete the copy off of your hard drive and then download it from the cloud.)

    1. What worries me about deleting a song is whether iTunes will have a better copy. I plan to do this in order to update my collection. Is there an easy way to tell before doing it or do I have to manually look up each song. An “update collection” button would be awesome.

      1. iTunes songs are all now 256 bit aac’s. The only way you would have a better copy is if you set the import function in iTunes to a higher bit rate, or you selected lossless import.

        1. I’m not stating my question properly. How do I know if they carry the song at all? I’m seeing if I can be lazy here. If I delete a song that iTunes doesn’t carry then they cannot provide a better copy and I might then delete my only copy. While I’m willing to do the work looking up each song that seems horribly tedious. I have thousands of songs. Is there an easy way to know if they carry what I have without tediously looking up each track in their store first? Example, I have every Black Sabbath song ever released and the Apple Store does not carry most of their albums. If I delete one of those songs then try to download it what happens then?

          1. iTunes tells you if it can’t match a song. If it doesn’t have the song, you can upload it yourself. You don’t delete songs from your iTunes account first. Plus, you don’t have to delete anything from your computer hard drive, but you get them on your iPhone, etc.

    1. Interesting.

      I haven’t thought about that, but I see how that could be an issue for Sirius.

      I drive about 4k miles a month, and I put in a car stereo that I use only to stream Sirius, iTunes, audiobooks, and Spotify from my iPhone.

      I suppose if you only listen to Sirius for the music, there isn’t much reason to keep the subscription. But if you listen to their talk channels, then keep the Sirius subscription.

      The other thing is that if you have a normal Sirius subscription with another car receiver, it’s only like $6 a month to keep the streaming/app option.

      1. just shut down my Sirius subscription last week. I find that I am not using it and it breaks up all the time anyway. BT in my cars. Stream MLB.com. Can’t wait for iTunes Radio.

    2. Sirius has a significant amount of exclusive content, so that should help protect it. However, I’m sure it’s being impacted by internet radio and even just iPods in general.

  2. TuneIn app, anyone? Been enjoying it for a while here.

    I value access to music but my interest in owning recorded music is not what it was. Yesterday’s collections, even in digital form, have become today’s clutter. Simplicity is best.

    Tastes change and variety keeps things interesting. I tend to prefer stations that keep their selections fresh and serve up a familiar tune every now and then. Looking forward to trying iTunes Radio.

  3. If it’s only available to folks with ios7 devices, That’s a subset of those with iTunes. While that subset will grow over time, Pandora is available to EVERYONE, even those with only a computer. My iPod Touch 4gen won’t have access. I’m not buying a new Touch just to see what Apple Radio is. It seems that it is NOT iTunes Radio, it is ios7 radio.

    1. The current iTunes Radio is just a collection of internet radio feeds – local radio stations, band specific feeds like Beatles Radio, etc.

      iRadio is not a collection of internet radio feeds, it’s personalized and customizable. It’s Apple’s version of Pandora. And it will be available on all iDevices running iOS 7, any computer running iTunes (when iTunes is updated for iRadio) as well as AppleTVs (when AppleTV OS is updated for iRadio).

  4. I’ve only been using iTunes Radio for a few days, but so far I am not thrilled. The streaming quality is great, but the song inclusion in stations doesn’t work as well for me as Pandora’s. I know you can “train” it, as in Pandora, by skipping songs or liking them, but I’ve had to do this a lot more in iTunes Radio than in Pandora when creating a new station. Also, after a bit, there seems to be an ad after every song. Finally, I’ve had it play the same song twice in a row a couple of times. I do like the slider that allows you to skew the song selection more towards hits or deep cuts, though I haven’t played with it much.

    1. I’m waiting for the official release. At least give it until then. Commercials are supposed to be every 15 minutes if memory serves. I expect to pony up the $25 to upgrade my collection and give the radio a good test. We just cut out our cable TV and kept just the internet. We’re hoping to have iTunes radio in the living room and spend a lot of time tweaking it.

      Does it do comedy or just music? Lots of comedy albums out there.

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