Move over Pandora! Make room for iTunes Radio.
On June 10, Apple confirmed rumors that they will be entering into the world of Internet radio. iTunes Radio is expected to launch in fall of 2013 when Apple releases its iOS7 upgrade to its mobile devices. With 120 million people listening to Internet radio, the playing field is highly competitive, occupied by several providers including Pandora, Spotify, I Heart Radio and Slacker Radio.
Pandora dominates the market with 77%* of online radio listening. Pandora is a streaming music service, based on the Music Genome Project, with access to 800,000 tracks. Trained analysts use up to 450 distinct musical characteristics to identify qualities of each song that are relevant to listeners’ musical preferences. Pandora offers two types of listening: free, which is supplemented by display and audio ads, and subscription listening, which allows for advertising free listening and a higher-quality music stream.
iTunes Radio will be a streaming music service that will play tracks based on your previous music tastes, pulling from your current iTunes library and building genre-based playlists of recommended artists. The free service will be supported by text and audio ads. An ad-free subscription will also be available. iTunes has access to more than 26 million tracks.
It may take Apple a while before it can break Pandora’s stronghold on Internet listening. However, Apple has positioned itself to significantly increase music sales; songs playing on iTunes Radio will be available for instant purchase and download. On Pandora you are pushed to third-party sites Amazon and iTunes for purchases.
The choice for consumers: Do you want Pandora’s customized and human selection or iTunes’ depth of music selection?
*Source: Triton Digital — Based on average active sessions among the top 20 stations and networks in the U.S., Monday–Sunday, 6 a.m.–midnight, December 2012.