Saturday, January 23

The End of Free Listening on iTunes Radio

Katie Roof, reporting for TechCrunch:

iTunes Radio will no longer be free, as of January 28. In an email to customers, Apple said that the Pandora-like service will only be available for Apple Music subscribers, which costs $9.99 per month.

Most of the Apple TV users I know own the 3rd generation Apple TV, listen to iTunes radio a lot, and do not subscribe to Apple Music. I’m not an alarmist when Apple drops outdated ports or features, but if this move is intended to increase subscriber numbers for Apple Music1, it’s misguided. Hopefully this means that an update is coming for the older Apple TV that will finally add a Pandora app.

  1. I think this decision has more to do with the pending dissolution of Apple’s iAd service than anything else. As others have pointed out, Apple Music’s direct competition is Spotify, not Pandora.

Sunday, July 05


“Ultimately, you can’t convince them, it’s just got to be better.”
Friday, July 03

Bring Me All of You, Apple Music

As far as I can tell, and based on everything I’ve read so far, Apple Music isn’t substantially better than Spotify or maybe even Rdio, Tidal or Pandora1. But it is different and that just might be enough. I’ll let others provide in-depth reviews and comparisons to other services. In the meantime, in case you’re interested, here’s why I’m all in on Apple Music.

Naturally Attached

This isn’t a huge leap for me. I’m already a Beats Music subscriber, having switched to the service from Rdio back when Apple first bought Beats. Though I didn’t always favor the Beats Music approach over Rdio’s, I anticipated, along with everyone else, the eventual tie-in with Apple’s existing music services and apps. Thus, when the service was finally released, jumping to Apple Music was a no-brainer. Three free months at the outset (when I was already paying $10 per month) is just icing on the cake. I was slow to jump on the streaming music bandwagon, but I can’t say enough about how great it is to be able to access almost any song any time you want. Few things make me feel more American than that.

The Ressurrection of Radio

The human curated lists in Beats Music are great, but they weren’t always as alluring as just pulling up Pandora or Rdio (back when I was a subscriber), picking an artist or station and letting the service take care of the mix. Now, Apple Music has the ability to create a station from a song or artist and it has the fantastic Beats 1 live, worldwide radio station that basically deserves a review all on its own. Yes, the feature that everyone is and should be talking about is its modern twist and nostalgic reverence for the art and pleasure of radio .

One App to Serve Them All

The new Apple Music app (and corresponding iTunes update) is perhaps the most derided feature or aspect of Apple Music, but it’s my favorite. The Internet is killing the new Apple Music app in terms of usability, calling it an all out mess, chaotic and confusing. And while I agree that it isn’t exactly the most plainly obvious app, I love that I finally have all of my favorite music delivery systems under one roof. Of course it’s confusing! There’s so much to pack into the one application – your existing music library (iTunes or music obtained from other sources); Internet radio, including the aforementioned fantastic Beats 1; and subscription-based music, the all-you-can-eat buffet of music. And this is the one feature that leads me to believe that Apple Music doesn’t have to be a better streaming service than Spotify, or a better streaming radio service than Pandora., because it has the distinct advantage of being a good-enough version of both and combining that with its pioneering2 iTunes platform. Hundreds of millions of credit card populated accounts, and many of those with massive existing music libraries, all connected by Apple Music.

I needed primarily three things out of Apple Music – the ability to pull up any song on a whim, legacy access to my existing iTunes library, and a “just play something” mode for those times I just can’t seem to decide what I want to hear. Based on my first few days with Apple Music, Apple delivered.

  1. Pandora has a slightly different model than the other streaming services included for comparison, but I’ll probably reference it later, so we’ll leave it here for context.  ↩

  2. Though, admittedly, it has been showing its age compared with the rapid rise of streaming services.  ↩