No More Free iTunes Radio

Staff Writer

Apple has advised users of the ad-supported iTunes Radio that it will no longer be free from January 28. It has folded the service into the $10-a-month Apple Music as a premium.

That leaves the global 24/7 Beats 1 as the sole free-to-stream music service from the company.

The move is seen as an attempt to drive Apple Music subscription numbers. As reported in TMN last week, it hit the 10 million subscriber mark in six months what its main rival Spotify took to reach in six years. Both charge $9.99 per month for a single-user account.

Apple is also seemingly responding to a heavy push for record labels for all digital companies to abandon their free-tiers.

An Apple spokesperson told BuzzFeed News, which first broke the news, “We are making Beats 1 the premier free broadcast from Apple and phasing out the ad-supported stations at the end of January.

“Additionally, with an Apple music service, listeners can access dozens of radio stations curated by our team of music experts, covering a range of genres, commercial-free with unlimited skips.”

Apple launched iTunes Radio in Australia and the US only in 2013, to take on Pandora, with custom stations based on genres or specific songs. Subscribers who paid for Apple’s iTunes Match service were able to listen to iTunes Radio without ads and had access to a wider amount of content.

Apple also announced that it will be discontinuing its iAD App Network, and no longer selling ads within mobile apps, by the end of June. App publishers will have to use third-party mobile ad networks after that.

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