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iTunes Radio to take on Spotify, Pandora, Blinkbox Music

Apple has launched its rival service to the likes of Spotify and Pandora as well as UK competitors Blinkbox Music.

Dubbed iTunes Music, the service was announced yesterday by Apple at its WWDC conference. The service will stream music radio free to hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad users when iOS 7 is launched later on in the year.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook said that there were already 300 million users of its iTunes service. This could seriously threaten smaller competitors when launched around the world.

At present, Spotify has more than six million paying subscribers, while Pandora, started in 2005, has 200 million registered users. Blinkbox Music, which Recombu reported on yesterday, has only just gone into beta.

The service starts in the US in the autumn and will add other countries “over time” according to Eddy Cue, Apple’s software and services chief. There was no word on when the service would hit UK shores.

Apple’s iTunes Radio will be powered by its Genius service, launched in 2008, that scans a user’s music libraries to find songs they usually play. This service has given Apple an enormous amount of data on users’ music habits and could give it an edge over rivals.

Users can create their own stations by picking an artist, song or genre from their music collection. Users can also play music from featured stations as well.

A free service will be ad-supported, while an ad free version will require an annual fee of $29 per year.

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