Apple iTunes Radio is set launch this week, here's a rundown of what to expect on the release date: an iTunes Radio app that allows us to listen to free streaming music online (with an occasional ad) as well as ties to buy music at the iTunes Music Store. It should also make good use of Siri, so that mobile app users on the go can change the streaming music playback on the fly. Think exercising, driving, going about your day with hands free access to your iTunes Radio playback. It's part of the iOS7 launch on Tuesday.
iTunes Radio features include one click to buy, and one click to create an artist radio station, which then adds the artist's radio station to a stations list. It features a clean layout inline with Apple’s new flat look for iOS 7 and is typical of Apple’s clean and simplified design standard. This is all worked through Siri commands as well, so you don't have to get buried in the mobile app just to change things up. It also likely to tap into Apple’s new “Live Listen” capabilities for live broadcasts, whether that means live from a studio with a live DJ to live streaming shows. We can easily guess for iTunes Festival integration next year.
I’m interested in whether iPhone streaming and iPad streaming experiences are better than users on other platforms. If Apple is about selling hardware like computers and mobile devices, will they offer an enhanced user experience for people on its own devices or will PC, Android and other people get the same iTunes Radio app? What’s your guess?
The iTunes Radio VS Pandora Radio debate will rage for the next year. We'll hear phrases like “Pandora Radio Killer” and how iTunes Radio will kill Google Music Play, and the usual tech blog sideshow sensationalism. iTunes Radio is sure to be a disruptor based on Apple's user base alone, but it will have a hard time pulling people from their favorites like Pandora, Spotify and Rdio where they've set up camp with favorite channels, playlists and social connections.
iTunes Radio will probably go through a small "shiny new object" phase in which everybody talks about it ... but the real tests will be: can it sustain interest in a fickle streaming music world where users come and go, can it drive people to buy music from the iTunes Store, and the quality of the user experience. Can it do Pandora better than a well-developed Pandora user experience?
You might be asking yourself why Apple would do something like iTunes Radio when the hottest debate in the streaming music services camp right now is does streaming music kill music downloads or music purchases. It's all about the "adapt or die" philiosphy that centers around disruption.
Glenn Peoples at Billboard talks about why this is true: "In order to succeed in the streaming marketplace, Apple has to risk killing the music download business it has dominated for the last ten years. With the launch of iTunes Radio, Apple shows it understands the future of music is streaming. iTunes Radio is not necessarily an iTunes-killer -- Internet radio is generally believed to complement music purchases -- but is a first step toward the kind of streaming service that could eventually replace the iTunes Music Store."
Richard Greenfield at BTIG Research did a great video walkthrough of the iTunes Radio experience. Check it out in the video below and GET EXCITED!