When Apple released iTunes Radio earlier this year, they brought streaming music to iOS and iTunes users. iTunes Radio competes with Rdio, Spotify, Pandora and Google Play All Access Music. While each of those offers a free version, they also let users pay a monthly fee to get ad-free music. Apple’s iTunes Radio comes with iTunes Match, which only costs $25/year.
iTunes Radio on a Computer
Fire up iTunes on the computer and click on the Library drop down button in the upper right corner. Clicking the arrow that appears will display a list. Choose Music. Just clicking the button will open the Library in the main window. An easier way to maneuver around iTunes is to choose to show the Sidebar from the View menu.
From the Music screen, click on the Radio tab and turn on the Radio service by logging in. If you’re not already an iTunes Match customer, iTunes will offer to let you sign up or sign up at Apple’s website for $24.99. It’s well worth the annual fee since it removes ads, lets users upload music and it becomes available from iCloud on all devices. It even works with music purchased from Google or Amazon or music ripped from a user’s own CD library.
Use one of the Featured Stations to start listening to music on a computer, phone or iPad with iTunes Match set up on it. The stations show up in the upper row on the iTunes Radio screen.
To create a new station, click on the plus button next to the words My Stations in the middle of the screen. Type a search in the search box that pops up (see above). Choose from the search results and it starts to play the station. The resulting screen will let the user customize the station.
Now, as iTunes plays songs, the listener can favorite a song by clicking the star on the play bar at the top of the screen next to the pause button. To the right of the play/pause button there’s a skip button to advance to the next song in the radio playlist. The price of the song shows next to the play progress bar. Click it to buy the song playing.
To keep songs from playing explicit lyrics, turn on the feature in the upper right corner of the My Stations section.
iTunes Radio on an iPhone or iPad
This works a lot like it does on a computer in iTunes.
On an iPhone or iPad open up the Music app. Find the Radio button at the bottom left of the screen and see the same featured stations from iTunes on the computer. Scroll down to the plus button and tap it to add a new station (see below). Enter a search item to search for the kind of station to set up and then choose from the results. Users can also pick from the music genres listed below the search button.
Once a user sets up a station it will sync across all devices. The listener can star a song, skip it or buy the song, just like the person can on the computer.