'Pure Dose of Awesomeness': Apple's iTunes Radio Launches Next Week

Elsewhere in streaming, Universal Music has introduced a Spotify app

Apple, iTunes Radio, September 18, Pandora, streaming
Not the Roots: Elvis Costello and Apple CEO Tim Cook examine a new iPhone 5S Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
Marc Hogan WRITTEN BY
Marc Hogan

At last, Apple's iTunes Radio music streaming service has a firm release date. The Pandora-like service, offering customizable radio stations but not on-demand listening, will arrive as part of Apple's new mobile operating system on September 18. Although the launch has been expected for weeks, the company made it official as part of a press conference introducing its two latest iPhone models.

Apple didn't announce much new about the service. In fact, according to Billboard, Apple exec Craig Federighi demonstrated the service for less than two minutes. But he also generated what had to be the event's most colorful quote: After creating a Rush-themed station, he reportedly declared it "a pure dose of awesomeness." 

iTunes Radio will be free with advertising, and iTunes Match subscribers get to bypass the ads. Each song that plays will pop up alongside a button to buy the song, which could help make the service a revenue generator for the music industry. As CNET reports, Apple's 575 million or more iTunes customers globally could help it catch up with more established streaming providers; for comparison, Pandora currently reigns over streaming radio businesses with roughly 72 million active users and 200 million registered users overall.

Also amusingly, atmospheric metal men Deafheaven had a small cameo in the press conference. The San Francisco band's Essential 2013 album Sunbather could be seen on an iPhone screen during the presentation, according to this Instagram image.

Apple wasn't the only company announcing a new music-streaming product. As MusicWeek reports, Universal Music has rolled out the uDiscover Spotify app. It's essentially a music-discovery app, which an executive for the mega-label described as "a fascinating way to learn more about artists and their connections with other artists at a track or album level in a visually striking environment."

Did we say Mega? MegaUpload founder Kim Dotcom, who earlier this year took explicit aim at iTunes with a planned service he called MegaBox, hasn't given up on the music streaming business. As TorrentFreak reports, Dotcom has stepped down from Mega to work on other endeavors, including an upcoming service called Baboom. "Artists never had more freedom, transparency and control," the self-styled outlaw is quoted as saying.

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