One aspect of Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference that we perhaps haven’t covered in-detail yet, is the introduction of iTunes Radio. Prior to this year’s conference you may remember we reported that Apple had signed a number of deals with the major record labels, giving the company the rights to both publish and stream their artist catalogs.
Well, it now turns out those deals were in relation to iTunes Radio.
Starting out in the U.S only and expected to come to other world regions over time, the new service is set to bring an ad-supported music radio service to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, as well as to the Apple TV. Described as “the best way to discover new music” and FREE to all U.S customers, the service will initially be supported by both audio and video-based iAds for those who wish not to subscribe to Apple’s iTunes Match offering.
“iTunes Match stores all your music in iCloud — even songs you’ve imported from CDs or purchased somewhere other than iTunes. So iTunes Radio can use your entire music collection to make your stations even more personalised.”
Those who would prefer an ad-free listening experience can sign up to iTunes Match, today, and will receive the service completely ad-free once it goes live for everyone, later this Fall.
Using iTunes Radio couldn’t be simpler. Now found in the ‘Music’ app on your iPhone or iPad, (or the new ‘iTunes Radio’ app on your Apple TV‘s homescreen), you’ll have access to “Featured” Stations, stations inspired by the music you already listen to, alongside more than 200 genre-focused stations — including everything from “Hard Rock” to “Doo Wop.”
Apple says that your stations “evolve” based on the music you both choose to play and download. “So the more you use iTunes Radio and iTunes,” the more “iTunes Radio knows what you like to listen to” — and the more “personalised” your experience becomes.
“It’s easy to create and customize stations based on whatever you want to hear. Pick any artist, song, or genre, and iTunes Radio instantly builds a station around it. Listening to a song you like from iTunes Radio or your music library? – You can have a station built around it, too. And while listening, you can make adjustments by tapping Play More Like This or Never Play This Song. You can even control the balance between playing the hits and discovering new songs. To add or delete stations, just go to Edit Stations. That’s also where you can select artists, songs, and genres you want to hear more of or none of.”
Also integrating tightly with Apple’s intelligent assistant, Siri, on the iPhone — whether you’re in the car, working out, or just hanging out — you can ask Siri to play what you’re in the mood to hear. For instance, if you’re perhaps listening to your favorite “Hip Hop” track, you can now say to Siri: “Play more like this” and instantly hear a stream of similar songs.
You can also say things like: “Who sings this?” to find out the artist, and Siri can also take your requests like a radio DJ. Play any of your favorite genres or stations by saying things like: “Play Alternative Rock Radio.” Of course, you can pause, stop, or skip to the next song. You can even have Siri add songs to your “Wish List” for you to download later.
Heck, you might even hear something exclusive. Apple highlights that as “the world’s most popular music store,” iTunes has access to thousands of new songs every week — and either using or being subscribed to iTunes Radio you’ll hear some of that music “before you hear it anywhere else.”
“Whether it’s an exclusive track from an up-and-coming band or a pre-release of the next big hit, iTunes Radio has you covered.”
If you like a song so much that you really want to keep it, alongside each track that plays in iTunes Radio Apple offers a one tap option to go and purchase that song from iTunes. YouTube user Pierre Dandumont has an excellent look at iTunes Radio running on Apple’s current-generation Apple TV. You’ll also get to see what those video iAds actually look like for the first time.
iTunes Radio will be available to all those in the U.S, this Fall. Those who have official access to Apple’s beta program can try the feature out, today, by heading to either the ‘Music’ app on their iPhone, or (if they’ve installed the latest beta) Apple TV‘s homescreen.