Can iTunes Radio Compete with Pandora? The New Internet Radio Service

Joseph Lauda

In June, Apple announced its own Internet-streaming radio service to take advantage of the growing Internet radio market, according to CNBC. Pandora Internet Radio, a large competitor in Internet radio, has taken a few dips in the stock market as a result, but have since recovered after Apple’s announcement of iTunes Radio.

Nvate Internet Radio by Pandora and Apple, iRadio

Credit: Apple

Apple’s radio service, deemed iTunes Radio, launched on June 10 after signing the last of its licensing deals. It will become available later this fall, according to TechRadar. Pandora’s response has been stalwart since, and is seeing no harm in Apple’s entrance into the Internet radio game in the near future.

Apple informed the public that their iTunes Radio will function similarly to Pandora’s already established setup. Users create their own station out of an interest in a particular band or song, and then the radio will build the station around that specific category, according to Apple’s website and product description. It will associate other songs that fit in with the style and sound of the selected band or song and recommend new music. Users can further tailor it to their interests by voting positively or negatively on a song so that songs like it will appear more or less frequently.

iTunes Radio will be assessable on many of Apple’s devices such as the iPhone, iPad and iPod. The fact that the radio is a part of iTunes is particularly unique to Apple’s Internet radio strategy as the iTunes store is the biggest and most used music store, according to Apple. While users are streaming their music and they find a particular song that they enjoy, they may choose the option of purchasing that song right then and there to add to their iTunes library. This will provide a major leg up over the competition as the radio’s ability to collaborate with many of the other Apple products, that people use every day, will help with the radio’s accessibility to its demographic.

Nvate Internet Radio by Pandora and Apple, iRadio

Like Pandora, Apple will be using advertisements to pay for its radio service, according to Apple’s iTunes Radio website. Apple provides an ad-free option if users already pay for iTunes Match, its cloud storage service, or iCloud. ICloud, a cloud-storage service, allows users’ music libraries to be automatically loaded onto other Apple devices. ITunes Match costs $24.99, but if users already incorporate iTunes Match into their lives, they now have an ad-free iTunes Radio. This will allow listeners to enjoy the radio without the interruptions of paid advertising that cuts into their music time.

With all of these great new interfaces in Internet radio, Pandora however is unfazed by all that Apple has to offer. Pandora’s CEO Joe Kennedy released several statements over the course of the construction of iTunes Radio and he is unimpressed at the final result.

“Apple’s new feature is an evolution of their iTunes offering to bring it on par with other streaming music services that have added radio into their feature sets,” Kennedy said to CNBC. “We have spent the last 13 years singularly focused on redefining radio and benefit from unrivaled intellectual property, deep experience in delivering personalized playlists, and ubiquitous product availability across every platform. We make it effortless for our more than 200 million registered users to connect with the music they love anytime, anywhere.”

He seems certain that Pandora will still be able to attract and keep music listeners on their side, despite all that Apple has to offer with their services. As with all that Apple has to offer as a company with their innovations and technologies they have yet to really achieve or produce anything that has changed the Internet radio service.

Overall it seems that the Internet radio game will remain the same with Apple just making a unremarkable splash in Pandora’s pool. With all of Apple’s iTunes-related products and the accessibility of the radio service on all of them, Pandora remains unimpressed.

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