Apple Confirms iTunes Radio Rumors as It Tries to Reclaim 'Innovator' Tag at WWDC

by Sheila Shayon 

Apple's annual developer conference, WWDC, began as expected with a keynote from CEO Tim Cook that reflected upon the brand's hometown inspiration, as well as a thorough run-down of Apple's latest user statistics.
Notably, the afternoon event introduced a new operating system—Mavericks— for Mac, ending the company's cat-themed era. Brand executives also unveiled a new, cylindrical MacBook Pro, a MacBook Air with an 11-hour battery, and a near-complete overhaul of its iOS interface, introducing iOS 7. 
Top of mind, though, were the swirling rumors about a supposed music streaming service. Not long into the presentation, execs confirmed the new iTunes Radio service, which will be built into the music app.
The new service, which is ad-supported and free to all, offers over 200 stations and is intuitive based on what songs you listen to and download. The platform is Siri-integrated and lets users easily purchase songs thanks to a conveniently placed "buy" button. Existing and new users of iTunes Match, which stores music on the Cloud, will be able to use the service ad-free. The iTunes Match service is available for $24.99 per year—a subscription that rings in below the ad-free price for simlar services offered by Pandora and Spotify. 

The increasingly crowded music streaming space, which includes plaforms from Pandora, Spotify, XBox, iHeartRadio, and Slacker, as well as newcomers Google Play Music All Access and evenTwitter #Music, has grown more competitive as big players vie for license agreements from music's biggest names as well as mobile ad revenue. For the moment, Apple's move into music radio seems to be an instinctual move as the company already dominates the digital music space with iTunes. While not groundbreaking, the service seems to be closely related to Pandora—a comparison that could spell bad news for the original streaming service that has seen rough timesas of late. 

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