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 text 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.
Are there limits on streaming?
Details about how much music you can listen to in a given period have not been made public yet, but it seems likely that there will be no limits.
Are there limits on song skipping
Details about skipping songs have not been made public yet.
Can you listen to iTunes Radio offline?
No details about that have been made available yet, but it seems like the answer is no.
How do you buy songs from iTunes Radio?
You can add music you like to a Wish List. From within your Wish List or listening history, simply click or tap the song's price and you'll buy it from iTunes using your Apple ID.
Is it Mac only?
No. You can use iTunes Radio on Macs, PCs with iTunes installed, iOS 7 compatible devices, and the Apple TV.
When will iTunes Radio be available?
ITunes Radio is available only in the U.S., starting in Fall 2013.