blog If you were following the many announcements made by iconic technology giant Apple at its Worldwide Developers Conference in the US overnight (and weren’t completely blinded by the new fluoro look which the company is giving version 7 of its iOS mobile operating system), you would have likely been well-pleased by the news that Cupertino is finally launching an Internet streaming music service (ad-supported) to compete with the likes of Spotify, Rdio and the like (CNET has a good guide on Australian access to these platforms here). Dubbed iTunes Radio, the platform is billed as “an incredible way to listen to personalized radio stations which have been created just for you”. Thanks, Eddy Cue.
But what you may not realise is that iTunes Radio won’t immediately be available in Australia. The local version of its iTunes Radio media release issued to Australian technology journalists this morning had a small but significant addition to this paragraph:
“Coming this fall (in the US), iTunes Radio will offer you an incredibly personalised experience on day one based on your listening history and past purchases from iTunes.”
When we queried Apple’s Australian PR team, we were told that the company is “working on additional countries”, but had nothing to announce about that today.
Now, from a certain perspective, this makes complete sense. After all, it usually takes a little time for complex, copyright-based services from vendors such as Apple and Google to launch in countries outside the US. We’ve seen this play out a thousand times before, and we’ll see it play out a thousand more times over the next decade until rights holders finally understand global licensing. However, what really gets my goat here is that Apple is last to this party in Australia.
That’s right. Australians already have access to independent streaming music services such as Rdio, Spotify and Pandora, and there are plenty of services from hardware and software players such as Sony, BlackBerry, Samsung and so on. Hell, even JB Hi-Fi has been able to get a service to market, and there are local players such as Guvera.
When it comes to music streaming services, Apple, which is usually close to being the largest company in the world, and which has a massive stranglehold on online music sales, either hasn’t been able to organise Australian rights or its technical platform to launch its iTunes Radio service in Australia, despite the fact that virtually every other company has been able to. What the hell, Apple? Do you seriously believe Australians to expect that you don’t have the resources to make this happen?
Normally we like to cut Apple quite a lot of slack; its products often apear to perform much better in practice and in the long-term than they appear when first launched. We have a great deal of faith in the company, based on past performance. But in this case, you’d have to say that the company either just isn’t serious about iTunes Radio to start with and may be using its US launch as a test case, or has dropped the ball substantially regarding global availability. And that’s not a situation that we normally see from Cupertino. Usually it prefers to be out in front.
Image credit: Apple