Rumors surrounding Apple’s streaming music service had been swirling for years — not months, but years — and now we can finally put them all to bed. The company on Monday took the wraps off of iTunes Radio during this year’s WWDC keynote, and the new service definitely sports a solid feature set. iTunes Radio is integrated into Apple’s Music app, providing curated streaming radio stations and custom stations that improve as you listen and download new music. And now that the service is finally official and we know all there is to know, it’s finally time to start your Google Play Music All Access trial.
Google unveiled its streaming music service last month during Google I/O, and it combines all the features of a cloud locker service with the best features of Spotify and Pandora. Users can upload up to 20,000 of their own songs, plus they can stream unlimited music on demand from Google’s library of millions of tracks. There are also custom radio stations like the ones in iTunes Radio, along with a recommendation engine that helps users discover new music.
Apple’s new iTunes Radio service is a nice addition to the company’s portfolio, but it really doesn’t offer anything novel compared to rival services. It’s Pandora. Meanwhile, All Access is Pandora, Spotify and iTunes rolled up into one.
iTunes Radio’s biggest advantage over competing services beyond integration into iOS’s Music app is pricing. Apple’s new service is free with ads or just $24.99 per year as part of iTunes Match for an ad-free experience. Pandora, the service’s main competitor, is $36 per year.
But iTunes Radio offers nothing in the way of exciting new features or innovation. Instead, it lacks the one feature that makes Spotify, and now Google’s All Access, so appealing: The ability to listen to any song, anytime thanks to unlimited on-demand streaming of millions of songs.
With Google’s streaming music service coming soon to iOS at just $7.99 per month for customers who start their 30-day free trials in June, All Access looks like a much better option for iOS users looking for a feature-rich service, despite the deeper integration and Apple branding on iTunes Radio.