Wednesday, September 18, 2013

With iTunes Radio, We Could Be Moving Towards A Free-To-Listen Model For All

Starting today, anyone with an iOS device that can install the brand new iOS 7 will also get a special new treat and feature:  iTunes Radio. I'm assuming that Apple will release the iPad version of iOS 7 as well.

Essentially, iTunes Radio is Apple's new modern answer to give users the ability to stream music that they like and, hopefully, discover new ones.  There's word that Apple is also hiring special human curators for this new feature.

Did I also mention that it's free?  This is significant because this will really hit some music streaming services hard.  Today's music streaming services like Pandora, often used as the service most likely to be hurt by Apple's entry into the radio streaming biz, offer limited free services and rely on paid services in order to generate revenue.

And even if Spotify doesn't directly compete with Apple's iTunes Radio because Apple doesn't let users picks specific songs to stream like Spotify, free is going to be a big deal no matter what.

But I don't think services will go away because of this.  If anything, they'll need to evolve, innovate and provide users with features that Apple does not offer and deemed worthy of paying for.

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