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article imageiTunes Radio free streaming to end as it folds into Apple Music

By James Walker     Jan 16, 2016 in Technology
Apple has announced it will be folding iTunes Radio into Apple Music from the end of January, discontinuing free streaming and requiring users buy an Apple Music subscription to keep listening. The company will continue its free Beats 1 service.
Digital Spy reports the company has sent emails to its iTunes Radio customers informing them of the changes. Apple intends to "phase out" its iTunes Radio stations that are currently free but ad-supported by the end of the month.
Apple Music pricing starts at $10 per month, a substantial increase from the previously zero cost of iTunes Radio. Apple seems to be making the change so it only has one free service for consumers to use instead of the two it currently maintains.
The company told Buzzfeed that its Beats 1 always-on radio station will continue to be available for listening without charge as it makes the service its "premier free broadcast." It said: "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 membership, listeners can access dozens of radio stations curated by our team of music experts, covering a range of genres, commercial-free with unlimited skips. The first three month trial of Apple Music includes radio."
iTunes Radio is only available in two countries, the U.S. and Australia. It launched in 2013 and offers ad-supported free streaming of "radio" playlists containing songs picked from personal favourites and popular current tracks.
Only minimal controls are offered as the emphasis is on a simple push-to-play streaming service similar to traditional radio. Users can skip songs, up to a maximum of six an hour, but are unable to replay or rewind tracks.
Apple Music is a very different service to iTunes Radio. A much more traditional streaming service, users are given full control of the music that is playing. In a similar way to Spotify, a library of music can be built, mixed into playlists and then listened to at will. The service also has a selection of curated radio stations that formerly overlapped with iTunes Radio.
The folding of iTunes Radio into Apple Music has been interpreted as another sign that Apple now sees Spotify as its direct rival. iTunes Radio was originally a response to Pandora, a radio streaming service currently undergoing a overhaul after its acquisition of rival Rdio.
Apple's announcement has annoyed many users who previously enjoyed listening to iTunes Radio. Now, only one station will be available, Beats 1, unless they choose to pay up and subscribe to Apple Music. The service is now thought to have 10 million users, a figure that Spotify took six years to achieve.
More about Apple, apple music, Music, Itunes, iTunes Radio