news Iconic technology giant Apple this morning announced its music streaming service iTunes Radio is available in Australia, some eight months after it announced the service and five months after it launched in the US.
iTunes Radio is a free Internet radio service featuring over 100 stations and “an incredible catalogue of music” from Apple’s iTunes Store. Apple describes the service as being able to provide radio stations inspired by the music which its users already listen to on devices such as their iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC or even Apple TV.
“iTunes Radio evolves based on the music you play and download,” the company said in a statement this morning announcing the launch, which appears to be one of the first outside the US after the service went live in Apple’s home country in mid-September. “The more you use iTunes Radio and iTunes, the more it knows what you like to listen to and the more personalised your experience becomes. iTunes Radio also gives you access to exclusive “First Play” premieres from top selling artists, plus the ability to tag or buy anything you hear with just one click.”
Apple said iTunes Radio offered music fans access to thousands of new songs every week, as well as serving up exclusive music from new and popular artists before listeners heard them anywhere else. “Whether it’s an exclusive single from an up-and-coming band or a pre-release stream of an entire album, iTunes Radio has it all,” the company said. “iTunes Radio is [also] home to special events including live streams direct from the iTunes Festival in London and other exclusive iTunes Sessions.”
The service is free but supported by advertisements, although those customers who are using Apple’s iTunes Match service, which allows users to upload songs and have those songs recognised as part of their official collection by Apple’s iTunes software, will be able to listen to iTunes Radio ad-free. iTunes Match costs $34.99 per year.
When Apple first announced iTunes Radio, I gave the company a bit of a serve for not launching it in Australia at the same time as the US. As I wrote at the time:
“… 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.”
It’s good to see Apple rectify this complaint with the relatively speedy launch of iTunes Radio in Australia. Kudos to the company, and hopefully the service’s breadth of music available in Australia will be good.
Image credit: Apple