All those rumors and reports were true: Apple is getting into the music streaming business. The company announced iTunes Radio today at WWDC 2013, a streaming service that hopes to take on the likes of Pandora and Rdio. Unlike Spotify, users won’t be able to pick specific songs or albums to listen to. Instead, they’ll pick a genre or artist, with Apple building a smart playlist that they’ll listen to instead.
iTunes Radio will be integrated into the Music app rather than stand as its own app. Just like the rest of iOS 7, it features flatter, cleaner elements. As well as listening your playlists, you can share them out to friends and family, and like Pandora, you’ll be able to like or dislike songs and artists to build a more curated stream. Better yet, there’s Siri integration: simply say “Play Rock”, for example, and Siri will build up a Rock playlist in iTunes Radio.
Apple says that iTunes Radio will be absolutely free, but will be bundled with both text and audio ads. In order to use the service ad-free, you’ll have to subscribe to Apple’s iTunes Match service, which currently runs £21.99 a year. The bad news it that the service will be restricted to the US. International music licensing agreements can be complicated, so Apple most likely focused on securing rights within the United States for now to get the service up and running. The company says that iTunes Radio will roll out to additional countries in the future, though.