My Mac and iPhone are loaded with thousands of songs from iTunes Music Store, and many thousands of songs ripped from CDs I purchased. Jesse says we spend $10 to $20 a month on music from the iTunes Store.
Suddenly, a subscription music service similar to Spotify looks pretty good. Instead of owning thousands of songs and spending $10 to $20 a month I can spend the same and get access to millions of songs.
It’s a battle of business models. Apple chose to go the Pandora route with what is called the radio station model, while avoiding what is called the catalog model that’s the hallmark of Spotify.
iTunes Radio will come in two versions. Ad free if you subscribe to Apple’s iTunes Match service ($25 a year), or free if you don’t mind advertising. In the radio station model you pick an artist, music track, or genre, and the service builds a radio station for you.
In the subscription model you get access to an entire catalog of songs, usually in the millions, and pay a monthly price. There are also hybrid versions of each.
What happened to iRadio, which everyone expected to be a streaming catalog service? Instead, Apple dropped iTunes Radio which is a curated radio station.
I’m convinced it has to do with money, and, depending on your music buying and listening habits, iTunes Radio isn’t much of a bargain when compared to a subscription model. Apple makes a huge amount of money from selling songs on iTunes Music Store. A subscription model has yet to be proven as a financially viable model for the record industry or suppliers. Apple adds a big Buy button in iTunes Radio which makes it easier to buy songs for your iTunes collection.
The more I look at what Apple has done with iTunes Radio, and compare it with what we spend monthly on songs from iTunes Music Store, the more attractive a streaming catalog of songs for a monthly subscription fee looks.