Announced alongside the introduction of Apple’s operating system, iOS 7, iTunes Radio will be built into Apple’s Music app. It will feature more than 200 curated streaming stations as well as dynamic playlists pegged to Twitter trends and user preferences, and will also offer users the ability to create custom stations from particular songs and artists.
The service will be available first in the U.S. sometime in the fall, with international rollouts to follow. ITunes Radio will be an ad-supported free service, while users with a subscription to the iTunes Match service get to listen commercial-free.
In truth, the functions of the service as demoed at the conference did not appear appreciably different from those of Pandora or a number of existing streaming destinations. However, belonging to the same ecosystem as the world’s largest music retailer will surely offer iTunes Radio considerable benefits – not the least of which is the ability to survey a user’s existing iTunes purchases, as its Genius function has done for years, and generate compatible playlists pulling from iTunes’ entire catalog – and labels are likely to appreciate the one-touch track purchasing ability it provides.
ITunes Radio will nonetheless face a crowded market of streaming competitors, with Google Play Music All Access and Beats Electronics’ Daisy most recently joining the fray.