The newly announced iTunes Radio probably wins the prize for most anticipated new feature coming with iOS 7. Apple took off the cloak at WWDC 2013 when it shared the details of the new Music app built into the mobile OS. The service comes for free thanks to ad support, or for $25/year as part of the iTunes Music Match service.
The iTunes Radio services comes built into iTunes on the computer and the new Music app in iOS. The service works much like Pandora or Rdio services. Users can play songs based on a certain genre of music or by band. Apple set up hundreds of stations already. Users can also create their own stations right inside the Music app. The service will help users find new music or just enjoy the kind they already enjoy.
Inside the Music app, while playing a song, users can tap on the information icon at the top center of the app and share the song or station with friends. They can also create a new station from this menu. There’s a way to rate the song, skip it and even tell the Music app to never play that song again.
Apple could get the music publishers on board by putting a buy button next to each song. This works inside the iOS app, in iTunes on a Mac or PC and on Apple TV.
The app will come with ads for most users. Those who already subscribe to the iTunes Music Match’s annual $25 subscription can get access without ads.
We’ll need to wait until we try it out, but this looks like a good competitor to the Google Play Music All Access subscription service, which costs $7.99/month for those who subscribe before the end of June and $9.99 thereafter. Spotify costs the same. If Apple’s service works as well as current streaming music competitors and offers as many songs, then iOS users will likely stay with Apple or jump from the other services to Apple due to the price.
The service won’t work on Android so Pandora, Spotify, Google and Rdio will still split that platform. Google said they would likely produce an iOS version, but that looks less certain. Apple could block it, since the service will now compete with Apple’s built-in streaming service. Even if Apple does let the Google offering through, the free or $25/year cost will make iTunes Radio an easy sell for those who only use iOS for mobile streaming.