In an email circulating to customers, Apple has announced that the ad-supported iTunes Radio stations available in the US and Australia are going away on January 29th. Beats 1 will be the ‘premiere free broadcast’ going forward. All other radio station features, i.e. the algorithmic stations like Charting Now or Pop Workout, will require an active Apple Music subscription.
The full email is included below …
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This marks the end of iTunes Radio as first launched in 2013, which expanded internationally into just one country: Australia. Since Apple Music’s debut, all other countries have required a paid subscription to access these radio stations and will continue to do so. However, from January 29th, there will be no free riders in the United States or Australia either.
Ad-supported stations were subject to other limitations that the paid Apple Music versions don’t have. Namely, you get unlimited skips for the stations (compared to 6 with the obsolete free tier) because you pay for the rights to stream any song in their library with your $9.99/mo plan.
Removing the ad-supported stations may be part of a wider transition in Apple’s iAd department. Apple can simplify the responsibilities of the floundering iAd group by getting rid of the need for ads to service the legacy stations. Apple is reportedly transitioning iAd towards a fully automated inventory model. Earlier today, Apple announced that it is closing the iAd App Network for developers.
In short: want free music from Apple past January 29th? Tune in to Beats 1.
Thanks Mitchell for the tip.