By Jim Karpen updated on 08/29/2013
September should be fun. We'll get new iPhones, new iOS software, and the new iTunes Radio service. According to an article on Ad Age Digital, things are all set for the launch of iTunes Radio next month, with Apple having signed advertising deals with McDonald's, Nissan, Pepsi, Procter & Gamble, and others. The article says the streaming music service, which will be similar to Pandora, will have an audio ad every 15 minutes and a video ad every hour. The video ads will only appear, though, if the service thinks you happen to be looking at your device; for instance, if you've just chosen to skip a track.
The article also says that in addition to audio and video ads, iTunes Radio will also have "slate ads," which they describe as interactive ads that take over the screen of whatever device you're using.
The service will be free, supported by advertising. However, an ad-free option is available to you if you sign up for iTunes Match, Apple's $25/year service that lets you store your music in iCloud.
According to Apple's website, iTunes Radio will offer Featured Stations that are based on the type of music you tend to listen to, as well as over 200 genre-oriented stations. Interestingly, your stations will evolve based on your preferences, so the more you use the service, the better it will meet your listening needs.
Plus, like Pandora, you'll be able to create your own stations. You simply identify your favorite artists, songs, or genres. While you listen, you can educate iTunes Radio on what music suits you by tapping Play More Like This or Never Play This Song. You also have the opportunity to control the balance between established hits and discovering new songs.
You'll be able to use Siri to access iTunes Radio simply by asking Siri to play your favorite genres or stations. You'll also be able to ask Siri to pause or skip to the next song. If you're listening to a song that you like, you'll be able to simply ask Siri, "Play more like this." You'll also be able to ask Siri who the artist is. And unsurprisingly, if you hear something you really like, you can ask Siri to add it to your Wish List for later downloading. You can then buy it with a tap of your screen. You can even purchase songs as they're playing.
I think this will be a popular service, especially since it will immediately have a large base of users due to the fact it will be built into iOS 7 and the Mac OS and conveniently accessible. It just feels like Apple got things right, as it so often does.