iTunes Radio is Apple’s attempt at competing with existing streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. How does it stack up against the competition? Read on to find out…
iTunes Radio includes the standard features for a streaming platform: pre-defined radio stations, customizable radio stations, adding songs you like to wish lists, Cloud sync via iCloud, etc. There are also two unique features Siri integration and Radio Tuning.
Siri is able to respond to commands to start playing a radio station as well as to skip songs. This will be a welcome feature for drivers so that they do not need to be distracted to play their favorite music. All major radio functions are supported by Siri including Station selection, adding tracks to the wish list, and tuning the station.
The tuning feature allows the user to specify whether they want to hear popular songs, obscure songs, or a combination of the two via the “Hits”, “Discovery”, and “Variety” settings, respectively. The Hits and Discovery categories are presumably based on the Popularity rating that each song has on iTunes. Since iTunes has over a decade of user purchase history under its belt, it can do a better job of providing songs that are more in-line with your musical tastes.
The only annoying “feature” is that you are limited to 6 song skips per hour per radio station. Considering that Spotify lets you skip as many songs as you want, it seems strange that Apple would want to implement such a limit. Perhaps, the agreement that Apple has with the record labels stipulates this behavior. However, it would be great to see this limitation disappear.
iTunes Radio is a smart move for Apple. The popularity of Pandora and Spotify validate the streaming model, and Apple stands to enjoy additional song sales as users discover new titles that they enjoy while listening to their station. Purchasing a song is as easy as clicking the purchase button that is next to the song that is playing.