By Brychan Humphries
According to an email sent to listeners of iTunes Radio, the free, ad-suported service will be discontinued later this month and instead be made available with a paid subscription to Apple Music. Rob Griffiths, via Twitter, quoted the email as telling him that, "as a listener of ad-supported radio on Apple Music, we want you to know it's being discontinued starting January 28th." Many are speculating that iTunes Radio's move away from ads is mainly due to the alleged disbanding of Apple's iAd network sales team which, if true, was the reason for the discontinuation of iAd itself. According to 9to5Mac, Apple's reason for obliterating ads on legacy stations is to simplify the responsibilities of the "floundering" iAd group.
Not to worry; Beats 1 is free as always, weather or not you're subscribed to Apple Music. Also, iTunes's separate service, Internet Radio, which lets users listen to 3rd party internet radio streams, will not be affected by this change nor is it likely to be changed until the distant future. If iTunes Radio has left a gaping hole in your life which can only be filled with a free, ad-supported internet radio service, there are plenty to choose from. Pandora is the first name that comes to mind when mentioning internet radio. With a free iOS app, this service is conveniently ready to use on your mobile as was iTunes Radio. Although it may not be up to par with iTunes Radio in terms of the level of integration you receive (iTunes Radio was built into iOS), Pandora has experience on its side and with a $5/month premium subscription, it's the cheapest by far. Another route you could take is Spotify. The streaming service is known for its ability to stream high quality songs as well as its immense range of artists, all of whose work you can download straight to your iPhone or Mac and listen to offline, provided you opt for their $10/month premium service. Apple Music is an obvious candidate, too. With over 30 million tracks, just shy of Spotify, it's giving other streaming services a run for their money. There are many arguments for and against Apple Music in favour of Spotify, but this is something you'll just have to decide for yourself. Unlike Apple Music, Spotify offers a student discount of 50% (£4.99/month), which is definitely a step in the right direction where audience growth is concerned.