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Apple To Start Charging For iTunes Radio

Beats 1 is now the only free music product for Apple.

Posted on January 15, 2016, at 7:12 p.m. ET


iTunes Radio, Apple's Pandora-style internet radio service, is going behind the $10 per month Apple Music paywall on January 29th.

Apple announced the move on Friday in an email to customers.

Launched in 2013, iTunes Radio was an ad-supported streaming service that was available in the U.S. and Australia.

"We are making Beats 1 the premier free broadcast from Apple and phasing out the ad-supported stations at the end of January," an Apple spokesperson told BuzzFeed News. "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 free three-month trial of Apple Music includes radio."

Similar to internet radio services, iTunes Radio doesn't allow much control over the music being streamed, instead serving as a passive listening experience and discovery tool linked to the iTunes store to facilitate song purchases. Listeners cannot fast forward or rewind during a song, are limited to 6 song skips an hour, and are never able to replay a song. It's a markedly different than Apple Music, which is a true on-demand streaming service: listeners pick what to listen, and how to listen to it, with a subscription price for that freedom.

The move from an ad-supported model follows Apple's recent exit from the advertising business. On Wednesday, BuzzFeed News reported that Apple's iAds division — which sold advertising to be displayed within iOS applications — was shutting down. iTunes Radio's move from ads to subscription is directly related to that, a source familiar with the situation confirmed BuzzFeed News.

When the changes go into effect, Beats 1 — the radio station Apple launched with its eponymous music service — will be the only free music offering from Apple.


An ad in iTunes Radio.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.