It is no secret that Apple has revolutionized many aspects of our daily life and the way we all communicate. From changing the way we buy music, to altering the mobile phone business; Apple is innovative! Apple’s next venture is into the Internet radio/online music streaming service market. Apple’s Internet radio, now called iTunes Radio, was first announced to the public in June 10 2013 at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Apple plans to go head to head with other major players in the online streaming world, like Pandora, Slacker, iHeartRadio, and many more. Online streaming and Internet radio is growing rapidly, and it is a commonly known fact that many listeners who used to listen to traditional AM/FM radio have been migrating over to Internet radio. Apple knows this is a lucrative business, due to the fact that over 48% of people who purchased music from iTunes in the past three years, have also been streaming music on stations like Pandora, Spotify, and a host of others. Pandora, which is the most popular online music streaming service, claims over 42% of iTunes costumers. Apple, being as competitive as the corporation is, wants to take a piece of that pie. Imagine if everyone who bought music online on iTunes, listened to music on iTunes Radio instead of other online stations?? I think that is the main goal with Apple’s much anticipated and upcoming iTunes Radio.
iTunes Radio is an Internet Radio service that is provided by Apple, Inc. iTunes Radio is slated to launch on September 18, 2013, the same day as Apple will release iOS 7, their upcoming mobile operating system and successor to iOS 6. iTunes Radio will be available in many devices, including being integrated into the their iTunes Music app, iPhones, Apple TV, and featured on both Macintosh computers and Windows. For more info on iOS 7 check out this article from USA Today.
iTunes Radio will be a free ad supported service that will be available to all iTunes users, featuring integration with Apple’s Siri. iTunes Radio has many interesting and attractive features. Some of the features that are being highlighted are; it has the ability to allow its users to skip tracks, customize their own stations, and purchase the station’s songs directly from the Apple’s own iTunes music store. Users can also search through their own history of previous songs they listened to. There has not been any confirmation if their will be a limit on the number of tracks a user can skip through, which is a limitation and a complaint with Pandora’s service. If users subscribe to iTunes Match they will also be able to use an ad-free version of the iTunes Radio. iTunes Radio will have pre-loaded stations, and will feature “trending,” or the most popular songs on Twitter at that specific time, which will be extremely helpful for social media savvy musicians. The service will also generate a radio station based on input like a single artist with songs by that artist and others similar. The service’s selection is expected to learn the user’s preferences from input by the user on whether they like or dislike the track. For more info on what you can expect from iTunes Radio, check out this article from Billboard Biz.
ITunes Radio will have a radio streaming feature, which Apple hopes will place them in front of the ad-supported streaming market, which is now being dominated by Pandora. The radio streaming service will be built into Apple’s iTunes music application. In a recent demonstration, Senior Vice President of Apple’s software engineering department, Craig Federighi showed a highlight of iTunes Radio, which he called “a pure does of awesomeness.” His “pure does of awesomeness” was his ability to create a station in less than 2 minutes that played music by Prog rock band Rush. I wonder how many people in the audience were playing air guitar or air drums to Rush’s hit “Tom Sawyer.”
A lot is hinging on the launch and success of Apple’s iTunes Radio. It serves to be sort of test for Apple’s iAd, which has struggled recently against Google, Facebook, and Amazon. I have to admit that I initially was unclear about iAd. In case you are as well, iAd is a mobile advertising platform developed by Apple Inc. for its iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad line of mobile devices allowing. The platform allows third-party developers to directly embed advertisements into their applications. The ad space competition in the digital world has become a lucrative industry for many major corporations, and Apple wants to acquire a larger share of it. Apple, unlike it’s competition, relies heavily on the revenue they make from the sale of it’s hardware products. Additional revenue comes from music, aps, and other areas, that have proven to be nominal in Apple’s annual profits. Apple is hoping to increase their annual profits by finding a way to make iAd become successful. In Apple’s recent press conference, they spent majority of the time highlighting the new rainbow colors and upgrade of it’s newest iPhones; the iPhone 5C and iPhone 5S.
Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, eventually discussed music during their press conference. To reinforce Apple’s stance in the music industry, he brought out Elvis Costello on stage to perform. Having live performances during their press conferences, is one of the on-going traditions started by Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs. Costello performed his hit song, “Radio Radio,” which is a tune known for blasting corporate homogenization of major radio stations. One of the more notable lyrics in the song is “The radio is in the hands of such a lot of fools, tryin’ to anesthetize the way that you feel.” Great line huh?
Unfortunately, investors have not been moved by the upcoming launch of iTunes Radio, or the new iPhone’s. Apple’s shares dropped over 2% later that day following the press conference.