itunes radio Stories February 2, 2016

Soundcloud launches free ‘track stations’ on iOS following iTunes Radio shutdown

Shortly after Apple’s decision to let free ad-supported iTunes Radio stations go away, Soundcloud today has introduced a new similar feature called Stations for free on its own music streaming platform. Users can launch a new track station based off of the current song they’re listening to and easily discover an endless stream of new music.

itunes radio Stories January 20, 2016

happy-hour1

This week Zac and Benjamin talk about the new versions of iOS and OS X along with some changes for iAds and iTunes Radio plus how Beats 1 can be improved. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.

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itunes radio Stories January 15, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 00.24.04

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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itunes radio Stories December 16, 2015

Star Wars Radio

Take a break from all the Christmas music and check out another new featured station from Apple Music’s Radio section today: Star Wars.

The stellar movie-themed station features tracks picked from the soundtrack of each film in the collection (even the prequels) so you can get hyped for The Force Awakens opening this week.

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itunes radio Stories December 14, 2015

Apple Music Christmas

While it undoubtedly drives the rest of my family crazy, I sure love Christmas music and don’t mind one bit that it takes over radio stations on November 1st. FM radio is okay in the car and I’ve used Pandora and iHeartRadio the last few years to find a variety of Christmas music, but ads and skip limits are no good when you’ve got access to a streaming music catalog everywhere you go. This year I’m all in with Apple Music and finding it terrific as my own personal Christmas music station.

Apple Music does a pretty good job of serving up a variety of ad-free Christmas music through stations and playlists … if you know where to look. Here are a few tips to set you in the right direction if you want to feel festive and spread the Christmas mood:

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itunes radio Stories August 18, 2015

apple-music

A new study from research firm MusicWatch shares some insight into Apple Music usage, including the percentages of users the subscription streaming service has been able to attract from Apple’s old iTunes music platform and competing services.

Around 11 percent of iOS users report actually using Apple Music (although 77 percent were aware it had launched), and that number is approximately the same among users purchasing or managing their music through iTunes. Compare those numbers to the approximately 40 percent of iOS users that MusicWatch says buy music in the form of digital downloads through iTunes.

In addition, the report notes that usage among existing iTunes Radio users sits at 18 percent. That would mean Apple Music has only attracted a small portion of iTunes users in general. While the numbers compared to iTunes usage are low, MusicWatch notes that the service has been able to convert around 52% of users that gave the service a try since launch. To me, that’s a good sign that the biggest hurdle is actually getting users to try the service. But how does usage relate to that of competitive services?…

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itunes radio Stories July 3, 2015

Music downloads down 10%, streaming up 100%, prior to launch of Apple Music

The rationale behind Apple’s move into streaming music can be neatly summarised in two stats from the latest Nielsen data on American music sales: music downloads fell by 10% in the first half of the year to 531M, while streaming almost doubled to 135B. The streaming figure includes iTunes Radio but not, of course, Apple Music.

While I and others may have a number of complaints about Apple Music, one thing’s for sure: that streaming number is going to be very much bigger by the time Nielsen reports stats for the second half of the year.

Via Re/code. Image businesskorea.co.kr.

itunes radio Stories June 22, 2015

homeradio-mac-app

While we’re all expecting good things from the radio side of Apple Music, it’s going to be a curated experience, meaning we’ll get the radio stations Apple chooses to offer. If it doesn’t cover all of our favorite stations, we’re going to need another radio app to plug the gap.

For listening on the move, the free SwipeRadio iOS app is a delightfully minimalist way to do it. Developer Dataphase has now taken the same approach on the Mac, with Home Radio. The philosophy is the same: no bells, no whistles, just the radio stations you want to listen to in an extremely lightweight app.

I’ve been trying it out, and if you want to do the same, developer Noam Gordon is kindly making it free for today only (22 June) especially for 9to5Mac readers …  expand full story

itunes radio Stories June 18, 2015

beats1

The Beats 1 radio station that forms part of Apple Music has put in its first appearance for iPhone and iPad users running the beta version of iOS 8.4 and iOS 9. Users are seeing the station logo and hearing pre-roll audio from Zane Lowe when it is clicked.

It’s just a demo at this stage, with pre-recorded audio, but is one step closer to the launch of the streaming music service which launches on June 30 via an all-new Music app …  expand full story

itunes radio Stories June 1, 2015

main1

Apple is ready to show the first fruits of its Beats acquisition next week. As we first reported in early March, Apple is planning to introduce its long-awaited Beats-based streaming music service at its Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday, June 8th. Blending Apple interface design and features from the Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine-created Beats Music app, Apple’s service, known internally as “Apple Music,” is built to take on Spotify and Pandora with several new features and a subscription model. Additionally, Apple is working on overhauling its widely panned iTunes Radio service by striking deals with popular artists and DJs. Below, we detail Apple’s plans for both Apple Music and the new iTunes Radio in an extensive roundup.

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itunes radio Stories May 26, 2015

force-touch

Some of iOS 9‘s more important planned enhancements include split-screen apps on iPads, a new Home app for controlling HomeKit accessories, a new system-wide UI font, a mass transit directions service for the Maps app, and major quality, performance, and security enhancements. However, multiple sources note that there will also be some smaller, but still important, tweaks to the operating system. We spotlight some of these expected changes below…

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itunes radio Stories May 20, 2015

Apple Watch + Music

Apple Watch + Music

We’ve reported extensively on what Apple has in store for its new revamped music service that will come alongside an international expansion of iTunes Radio, and today reports from Russian publication Vedomosti (via Billboard) hint that Russia will be one market Apple is aiming to launch in soon… expand full story

itunes radio Stories May 8, 2015

Screenshot 2015-05-08 10.50.26

A new report from Re/code today about Apple’s upcoming music streaming platform reiterated much of what we already know about the service, which is expected to debut with iOS 8.4 at WWDC. iOS 8.4 is already in the hands of developers with a revamped Music app.

As was previously known, Re/code notes that the recent hire of BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe and other BBC DJs is a plan to help bolster iTunes Radio’s curated playlist feature by manually compiling track lists instead of allowing an algorithm to make the decisions. The site also notes that iTunes Radio will be available in additional countries, which we first reported earlier this week. A few other new details were also mentioned.

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itunes radio Stories May 7, 2015

spotify

Spotify, which is widely believed to be behind the antitrust allegations that led to both EC and DOJ investigations into Apple, has now added a fresh complaint. The Verge reports Spotify is complaining that the 30% cut Apple takes from in-app Premium subscriptions in the iOS app amounts to an “Apple tax.”

Apple charges a 30 percent fee toward any sales through its App Store, and that includes subscription services. That means if Spotify wants to sell its premium subscription service — which usually costs $9.99 a month — through the App Store, it has to raise the price 30 percent higher to $12.99 to pull in the same revenue, while Apple can still offer Beats at a lower price. Spotify and many others in the music industry believe Apple’s App Store tax gives them an unfair advantage over the competition.

One unnamed music industry source said that Apple taking 30% was “**cking bullsh**” …  expand full story

itunes radio Stories April 13, 2015

Apple revealed the first look at its all-new Music app for iPhone and iPad with the first beta release of iOS 8.4 today, which brings a new look to iTunes Radio among other major changes. Pandora Radio, the similarly-modeled music streaming service that’s arguably superior to iTunes Radio in music variety and selection, released a timely update this evening adding Apple Watch support to its iPhone app ahead of the new wearable device’s release on April 24th. Pandora Radio’s WatchKit app for Apple Watch will include a glance for swiping up from the watch face to identify the song currently playing from the iPhone app.

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itunes radio Stories April 10, 2015

iPhone 6 Beats Music

A new report from Bloomberg today claims that Apple is considering $10-$15 month plans for its upcoming music streaming service while the company approaches high-profile artists to get exclusive content.

The report today follows our own report last month that Apple was planning to relaunch its Beats Music streaming service at its WWDC event in June. At the time we noted that Apple was considering a $7.99 price point, but today’s report suggests Apple could go with paid tiers ranging from $9.99/month for a single user to $14.99/month for a family account. expand full story

itunes radio Stories April 7, 2015

Beats Music iTunes Festival

Apple’s upcoming music streaming service comes at an interesting time in the industry. Jay-Z recently relaunched his own streaming music service dubbed Tidal, recruiting help from other A-list artists like Rhianna, Alicia Keys, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, and Kanye West. There are existing services from Spotify, Beats, Google, and others. All of these offerings have their own pros and cons, but I’ve used them all and none of them accomplish streaming music perfectly. Apple now has the opportunity to take the best features of each service and offer its own competitive service.

Last week, Ben Lovejoy broke down exactly what Apple’s streaming music service would need for him to stop buying music. Even without Apple’s new service, I’ve already done that. Most of my music is streamed from Spotify. Rarely do I actually buy albums on iTunes, and I almost never buy physical CDs. The problem with this approach is no streaming music service gets it 100 percent right for me.

I’m hoping that Apple incorporates the best of each existing subscription music service into its own upcoming music service. What are those key points? Let’s discuss…

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itunes radio Stories March 31, 2015

Pandora CFO promises CarPlay support, talks Apple relationship in recent interview

The limited selection of CarPlay apps has not grown much since its launch, with one of the most prominent hold-outs being Pandora. In a recent interview with Fox Business, however, Pandora CFO Mike Herring said that the company plans to add CarPlay support soon. “We’ll definitely be in CarPlay,” Herring said in the interview.

itunes radio Stories March 19, 2015

Apple introduces automated buying and improved customer targeting for iTunes Radio ads

Advertisers looking to make automated ad purchases on Apple’s iTunes Radio platform will finally be able to do so thanks to changes the company is rolling out now. While in-app iAds have been available for automated targeting for some time now, audio ads that run on free iTunes Radio accounts have always only been available through Apple’s sales representatives.

Enhanced customer targeting is also being added to the iAd offering. User phone numbers and email addresses can be anonymously compared against advertisers’ in-house data. iAd Workbench will also allow advertisers to target specific segments of the iTunes Radio userbase, utilizing the Customer Match feature that has been available to in-app ads since it was released last year.

As with banners and other iAds, users who opt-out of targeted advertisments will be exempted from the service. While Apple is planning to revamp its Beats Music service later this year, iTunes Radio is expected to remain its own separate product

itunes radio Stories February 14, 2015

Picture shows ZANE LOWE

The BBC announced today that Zane Lowe, who has worked as an award-winning Radio 1 DJ for nearly twelve years, is stepping down from his position in March and moving to California to take up a role at Apple. Lowe has long been regarded as one of the UK’s top sources for music discovery, and his show helped make many artists the stars they are today.

Lowe hasn’t publicly stated what role he’ll be filling at the Cupertino tech company, but it’s not hard to conclude that he’ll be lending his curation expertise to the big upcoming relaunch of the Beats Music streaming service. Beats Music, of course, is already staffed by music industry icons Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre.

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itunes radio Stories February 11, 2015

happy-hour

Happy Hour is back and better than ever. Join us as we kick off the first episode and discuss everything you need to know about Apple’s master plan for iOS 9, a new music streaming service in the works, Apple Watch launch details, and more. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed.

Click here to subscribe on iTunes or listen to the first episode embedded above.

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itunes radio Stories February 9, 2015

Image: Forbes

Image: Forbes

When Apple enters a new business, you know it’s not going to do so in a half-hearted, small way. When it launches its Apple-branded Beats Music service later this year, it’s a no-brainer to predict that it’s going to be a big deal for the music industry. With Apple’s deep integration of Beats into its existing iOS/iTunes ecosystem exclusively revealed by Mark Gurman added into the mix, I wonder whether the unique selling points being notched up by Apple could be enough to leave existing big-name players like Spotify, Google Play and Rdio dead in the water?

That’s rather a grand idea, of course. As of last month, Spotify reached 15 million paid subscribers–up 50% in the last six months alone. Beats Music had only a little over 100,000 subscribers at the time Apple bought the company, and is rumored to have only 2-3 times as many now. But an Apple-ified Beats Music service has four things going for it …  expand full story

itunes radio Stories February 4, 2015

CueBeats

Six months after buying the subscription music service Beats Music, Apple is actively working to launch a completely new paid streaming music service that will compete with Spotify and Rdio. Yet to be named, the new service is entirely Apple-designed, yet leverages Beats’ technologies and music content, a collaboration that has thus far led to personnel challenges and delays. Multiple sources within Apple and the music industry have provided the first in-depth details of Apple’s upcoming streaming service, which we share below.

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itunes radio Stories January 22, 2015

iPhone 6 Beats Music

Update 2/5: Auction just wrapped up at $3,250 just over the estimated value.

Former Beats Music CEO and current Apple employee Ian Rogers is participating in a charity fundraiser through the online auction site Charitybuzz. With the estimated value pegged at $3,000, the fundraiser has a starting bid of $600, and runs for two weeks starting today. The highest bidder will have the opportunity to meet the former Beats Music CEO in either Los Angeles (where Beats is headquartered) or Cupertino (near Apple’s campus) for a private lunch meeting. expand full story

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