Apple has discontinued its ad-supported free version of iTunes Radio, and merged it with Apple Music as a feature addition. Users who had customized content on iTunes Radio will now have to subscribe to Apple Music to access their online radio stations. The change makes Beats 1 as the only free Radio service from Apple.
If you haven’t subscribed to Apple Music, and try to access iTunes Radio on Mac, Apple will show you a pop-up titled ‘Get on Our Wavelength’, which redirects to a sign up page for Apple Music, and prompts users to join the service for curated radio stations and music.
“We are making Beats 1 the premier free broadcast from Apple and phasing out the ad-supported stations at the end of January,” an Apple spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. “Additionally, with an Apple Music membership, listeners can access dozens of radio stations curated by our team of music experts, covering a range of genres, commercial-free with unlimited skips. The free three-month trial of Apple Music includes radio.”
Apple’s decision to shut down iTunes Radio and merge it with Apple Music clearly indicates its growing focus on subscription model rather ad-based model.
Apple had launched iTunes Radio in 2013. The free service was available for iOS 7+ devices. Similar to Pandora, Apple’s streaming service allowed users to listen to pre-taped playlists with limited track skips.
Even though Apple Music is a paid version, the app gives much more liberty in terms of curating playlists and customize tracks as compared to the free version of the iTunes Radio. Most importantly, it’s without ads, which is a better experience on any given day.
According to Apple’s latest earnings report, Apple Music has over 10 million paid subscribers and is rapidly closing in on the likes of Spotify. The service is also available in India. Apple is offering a three-month free trial, post which users will be required to pay Rs 120 per month for an individual plan, or a Rs 190 per month family plan (for up to six members).