Email Blast from Apple : To kill free iTunes

The following article is based on my own interpretation of the said events. Any material borrowed from published and unpublished sources has been appropriately referenced. I will bear the sole responsibility for anything that is found to have been copied or misappropriated or misrepresented in the following post.

Sidhartha Sankar Nanda, MBA 2015-17, Vinod Gupta School of Management, IIT Kharagpur

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“As a listener of ad-supported radio on Apple Music, we want you to know it’s being discontinued starting January 28th” . This was the mail sent from American multinational technology company Apple to the iTunes radio user.

Apple has decided to start charging for iTunes Radio from January 28. From the above mentioned date, if the apple users want to hear radio stations based on an artist or genre of music they like, they will have to fork out a monthly subscription of ten dollars to Apple Music, The Verge reports. The ad-supported service, available only in the United States and Australia, will be folded into Apple Music, which costs $9.99 a month. However, Beats 1 will remain free to listen to, even without an Apple Music subscription, according to the email sent by Apple. Also it seems that this decision won’t impact iTunes’ separate “Internet Radio” feature, that lets you listen to non-Apple Internet radio streams, this has been around since the early days of iTunes.

iTunes radio was launched along with iOS 7 in the year 2013 as an answer to Internet radio behemoth Pandora.

iTunes Radio’s move to a subscription-only model follows word that Apple has broken up the sales team for its iAd advertising network. 9to5Mac speculates that the decision to end ad-supported iTunes Radio is related to the iAd shutdown, saying that “Apple can simplify the responsibilities of the floundering iAd group by getting rid of the need for ads to service the legacy stations.” .This move is also backed up with Apple’s plan to pull out the mobile advertising business in June. Apple’s decision intends to lure customers into paying for its streaming service as the company engages in a heated war with Spotify and to compete with Pandora Media.

Some of the alternate options that might be of helpful now are :

  1. Pandora provides a free, ad-supported service tier to go along with its $5-per-month Pandora One subscription service. However it lacks the same level of integration that iTunes Radio offered, but the company does offer a free iOS app to listeners.
  2. Spotify, known primarily for its a la carte streaming, is a combination of both Pandora and iTunes Radio. It offers both a Mac and iOS app but it too has a $10-per-month “Premium” service, which  lets you listen to your Spotify music collection when you’re offline.
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