Back in Jobs’s day, Apple was basically revolutionizing the way we consume music on a quarterly basis: iPod, iTunes, iPhone … innovation after innovation, each of them altering the space forevermore. Now, though? Well, it’s early, but if iTunes Radio is any indication, the new bosses are not exactly on the same level as the old boss.
During his keynote presentation at WWDC 2013 (Apple’s annual conference for its developers), Apple CEO Tim Cook unveiled his company’s new operating system, along with the iTunes Radio music platform. Which, as far as I can tell, is basically … Pandora. But a bit more sales-focused. And it arrives only eight years after the launch of Pandora! Wired has the goods:
The new service, which launches this fall, is a station-based radio player. Pick an artist like Led Zeppelin, start a new “station” for that artist, and iTunes radio will begin playing a songs by that band, with other songs from similar bands (The Rolling Stones, The Kinks) mixed in. It resembles Pandora Radio more so than on-demand services like Rdio and Spotify, where you can pick the exact songs or albums you want to hear. Like Pandora, iTunes Radio chooses songs for you using algorithms. You can create new stations, and rate the songs you like or dislike as they stream. It learns your preferences and modifies the station to better suit your tastes.
The Apple service will be ad-supported and offer the user prompts to buy through iTunes. This announcement comes less than a month after that of Google’s new music subscription service, which also wasn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, yet sounds both preferable to and more interesting than iTunes Radio. I’ll be re-upping my Spotify subscription right about now. Maybe investing, too.