Reportedly, as a part of its shutting down of iAd app network, Apple is now also shutting down its free ad-supported Pandora-like service, iTunes Radio from January 28th. The only radio station which will continue to be available free to the users is Beats 1 channel with live DJs.
In an official statement, Apple 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.
iTunes Radio was launched in 2013 on the lines of Pandora in the US and Australia. It offers ad-supported radio stations along with many options of customization and curation of song lists to users based on the artist, genre, etc.
However, the service offers limited skipping of songs ( 6 songs per hour) and there is no option of rewind or fast forward.
It has been available with the Apple Music as well since its launch last year. Now that Apple Music has begun to gain some traction with the users, the move to include iTunes Radio exclusively with it seems a strategy to further gain subscribers.
Apple Music, which is seen as a strong competitor to Spotify now reportedly boasts of 10 million subscribers. It offers ad-free music to its subscribers at a subscription rate of $10 a month.
There is a three-month free trial for the service in the beginning in which now iTunes radio will also be available. However, unlike Spotify, there is no free tier in Apple Music and after the free trial period, paid subscription is necessary to access its services.
Apple has lately been trying to strengthen its presence in the digital music space. However, it is facing stiff competition from other players mainly Spotify and Google Play music. In order to promote its Apple Music as a one-stop music destination for its users, it also shut down the Beats music service last year. Beats was acquired by Apple in 2013 for $3 billion.
The executives from Beats Music, namely Jimmy Lovine, Dr. Dre and Trent Reznor have worked in its team for the development and launch of Apple Music