What Apple’s iRadio means for other music streaming services on iOS

Sections: Apple News, iPhone OS, SDK and hacks, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Rumors, WWDC

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According to a report from AllThingsD, Apple is planning to launch their rumored iRadio service during the company’s annual WWDC conference, which begins June 10th. On Friday, Apple reportedly signed Sony Music to a deal for the Cupertino company’s upcoming radio service. If Apple does end up launching iRadio and it proves to be a success, they will essentially be taking down other music discovery services on iOS such as Pandora and Spotify. This is because Apple will make sure to integrate iRadio into iOS 7 and the iTunes Music Store.

Apple wants to boost music sales with iRadio, but the addition of this service will also benefit iOS users. There are certain features (such as the ability to replay a song and discover new music) that both Pandora and Spotify lack that make them easy prey for Apple’s rumored iRadio service. All of these features already exist in these two services, but neither company is making moves to add features that the competition already has.

For example, Pandora is great for discovering new music by artists that users already like, and Spotify is great for listening to entire albums. However, Spotify has not made any moves to create any features for discovering new music, and instead remains more of an ad-based music database that allows unlimited listens to entire albums and songs. Pandora is also making a mistake by not allowing users to access a larger database of music, instead limiting them to several songs per station. Pandora also does not allow users to rewind to a song they might want to listen to again, which is something Spotify allows.

Apple’s iRadio can change that by allowing users to not only rewind songs and listen to them as many time as they like, but also allowing them to match their current iTunes libraries to discover new music. Apple does that to some degree with Genius Playlists, but this time it would be with music that is not already in a user’s library. With iRadio on iOS, Pandora and Spotify may have a hard time, especially because they are ad-based and because they require a paid subscription (Pandora doesn’t, but the premium “ad-less” Pandora One does). Spotify and Pandora both have large customer bases that use iOS devices, which means iRadio could potentially steal away some of them.

Although it seems as though Apple is in a great spot to target both Pandora and Spotify, it is also a risky move for the company. I say this because Apple has been experiencing lots of issues with some of the services and features they’ve introduced in recent years, such as Maps, Siri, and iAds. I might be wrong, and iRadio may become the next big thing that Apple and its customers have been waiting for, but it could also just as easily be a flop. The best thing to do at this point is to wait until Monday and see what Apple comes up with for iOS 7 and, potentially, iRadio.

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  • Fill

    Apple already has all the technological pieces in place (Music Match, iCloud streaming, Genius recommendations, iTunes store, iTunes reviews and suggestions, etc.) It seems like a reasonable next step to put all the pieces together. I just hope they do better recommendations than Pandora and avoid any legal issues like they are having with the eBooks fiasco.