Apple's device penetration gives any new launch a great chance of success. If Apple has learned from Ping then Spotify and Pandora should be worried. For advertisers, it redefines 'radio' and pushes it back into the heart of the media plan.
iTunes Radio, tipped to launch in September 2013, will be an integrated part of the on device iTunes experience. The new product will be built into the iOS software and will initially be available in the US only across iOS7 – compatible on iPhones 4+ and iPad 2+. It will not be available as a standalone app. It will use an algorithm to search users purchase history to create custom stations.
iTunes Radio seems an obvious attempt to compete with Spotify and more directly Pandora which, mainly due to copyright laws, also operates only in the US. However, Apple will no doubt be looking to expand; so how does iTunes Radio stack up against Spotify?: In terms of libraries iTunes wins, with over 35 million songs vs. just 20 million on Spotify; iTunes Radio will be available free and on the go across tablet and iPhone, whilst Spotify Free is only available on desktop; iTunes Radio will be ad supported, just like Spotify Free, but whereas free listening on Spotify is capped after 6 months at 2.5 hours a week, iTunes radio will be unlimited. Perhaps the most crucial difference is like Pandora, but unlike Spotify, iTunes Radio has less user control as it doesn't feature a search and play function – the goal is instead to get you to listen, like and buy tracks from the iTunes store based on an algorithmically created playlist.