Apple has confirmed the long awaited expectations: some kind of iTunes based “iRadio” application should be available by the fall. The Washington Post article summarizes the subscription free service:
“Using the firm’s Music app, users will be able to create digital radio stations based on their favorite artists or songs. Listeners can then tweak the stations by indicating which songs they like and which they don’t. Users can also buy songs with one click, see what music is trending on Twitter and share songs with friends.”
Nothing earth shattering about this offering, but the tech blogosphere is already marinating in debates: Will it hurt Pandora? Will it help Apple? Is this too late, or will Apple’s hugely developed music infrastructure allow the company to quickly catch up with the dominant online individualized music streamers?
I asked the undergraduates at my big survey classes at UC Santa Cruz if they were excited at the possibility of an Apple service similar to Pandora. I got a lot of lukewarm hand gestures, not much else. To be fair, it’s not like Apple has promoted the thing very much. “iRadio” does seem like a bit of an afterthought, however, especially following Google’s All Access rollout.
Perhaps the new rule is that all big online music empires must offer some kind of streaming service as part of their infrastructure. I remember when individualized streaming radio was the cutting edge of everything. Now it’s just part of the background autoflow.