Thanks to the iTunes Store, for nearly a decade getting music online meant buying songs and albums from Apple (among other options). In recent years, the introduction of services like Spotify and Pandora have changed that; online music is now about streaming whatever music you want, whenever you want it--whether you've bought it or not. Now, thanks to iTunes Radio, Apple has joined the world of the endless streaming jukebox. Here's what you need to know about iTunes Radio.
Just want to know how to use iTunes Radio? Try these tips:
Is iTunes Radio like Spotify (streaming entire albums) or Pandora (streaming a mix of songs that you have only some control over)?
It's more like Pandora. ITunes Radio is made up of "stations"--you create a station using a song or artist and then get a shuffled list of music. There are also pre-made stations. Apple uses information about your music behavior--what you listen to, buy, rate highly, etc.--and what other users like you also do to improve your stations over time. In this way, iTunes Radio is similar to iTunes Genius. Unlike Spotify, you can't play all songs from a single album in a row.
Is it a separate app or part of iTunes?
It's built into the Music app on iOS and into iTunes on Mac and PC.
Where do you download it?
Because it's built in, you don't have to download anything separately. As long as you're running iOS 7 or higher, or a version of iTunes that supports iTunes Radio, you'll have it available.
What does iTunes Radio cost?
Nothing. ITunes Radio is free to all users.
Are there ads?
Yes, there are visual and audio ads mixed into the music.
Can you get rid of ads?
Yes. If you're an iTunes Match subscriber (a US$25/year service), ads are removed from iTunes Radio. You must have iTunes Match turned on for the device you're using in order to have ads removed.
Are there limits on streaming?
There is no limit on how much music you can listen to in a given period of time. If, however, you take no action in a playing station--like or block a song, skip, etc.--after two hours, streaming will stop.
Are there limits on song skipping
You can skip six songs per station per hour. When your skip limit approaches, a warning will appear under the skip button.
Can you fast forward songs?
No. Because iTunes Radio works like traditional radio, you can't fast forward within songs. You can only skip to the next song.
Can you listen to iTunes Radio offline?
How do you buy songs from iTunes Radio?
You can add music you like to a Wish List. From within your Wish List, listening history, or the iTunes display at the top of the window, simply click or tap the song's price and you'll buy it from iTunes using your Apple ID.
Can you filter explicit lyrics?
Yes. You can turn explicit content on or off for all stations with a single button.
Is it Mac only?
No. You can use iTunes Radio on Macs, PCs with iTunes installed, iOS 7 compatible devices, and the second-generation Apple TV or newer.
When will iTunes Radio be available?
ITunes Radio is available only in the U.S. (as of this writing), starting in Fall 2013.