With new updates to Apple’s software comes the introduction of iTunes Radio, the latest Internet radio service. Unfortunately, this step toward modern music streaming seems to be a misstep for Apple developers.
Compared to the popular music streaming service Spotify, iTunes Radio lacks sophistication and polished development. Both programs showcase the “try it before you buy it” concept, offering users the ability to customize radio stations. However, these programs differ in a number of ways.
Spotity is a free app that allows users to create a custom-made playlist through “starring” songs or dragging them into a new playlist. Users can also create a radio feed based on an artist, song or genre of music. As a bonus, Spotify activity can be linked to an individual’s Facebook page, posting various songs, artists and playlists directly to their profile.
Because music is free to stream, there is an abundance of advertising throughout the music session. These ads must be played at an audible level before the playlist will reappear.
Unfortunately, to get rid of this is to pay a monthly fee of $4.99 for complete computer access — users can also pay a monthly $9.99 fee to have complete access from computers, tablets or smart phones.
iTunes Radio is free in the latest version of iTunes and is an added feature in the iOS 7 update. Similar to Spotify, specific radio stations can be created based on a genre of music or on the songs currently in a user’s iTunes account. With fewer frequent interruptions because of advertisements and free streaming to the iPhone, one would think Apple was headed down the right path to commercial success.
Yet the program only allows six skips per hour and often dismisses the preference of the listener, ignoring the “don’t play this again” option. Because it’s so new, the program tends to freeze while on-the-go, forcing the listener to quit and re-launch the program.
On the flip side, Spotify has been accused of shortchanging their license holders, providing a small compensation for streaming their music freely.
Small bands looking to make it big, such as Thom Yorke and Nigel Godrich of Atoms for Peace, avoid Spotify, feeling they don’t get enough bang for their buck with free streaming.
However, more than anything, Spotify acts as a mechanism to avoid music piracy. They look to keep the dignity of the music world by allowing people to listen to music for free, rather than allowing the public to steal or torrent content from the Internet.
David Stewart of ’80s pop-rock band Eurythmics told The Guardian: “Thom Yorke made a mistake there, him and Nigel Godrich. They were misinformed. I think they just suddenly got a bee in their bonnet, because Spotify is one of the few companies that is transparent and actually pays properly — as a songwriter, you should worship Spotify, because they’ve come along with a solution.”
In comparison, iTunes Radio is primarily trying to get listeners to buy music, as most of the songs featured in the featured radio station are the most expensive price.
Obviously this is a business, but it’s encouraging to see Spotify look out for the greater good of the music world and not just itself.
While still in its developing stages, iTunes Radio seems to be a bust. Stick to Spotify for now when it comes to streaming music for the best consumer experience.
Reach the columnist at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter @beccasmouse
Want to join the conversation? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep letters under 300 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.