In a move that can only be viewed as an attempt to solidify its place in the music streaming market, Apple Music is set to move its formerly free iTunes Radio service over to the paid subscription based Apple Music.
Starting January 28, iTunes Radio will only be available to users who pay $9.99/month to subscribe to Apple Music, per a statement released by the company:
We are making Beats 1 the premier free broadcast from Apple and phasing out the ad-supported stations at the end of January. 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.
Though the move will surely draw the ire of some users, industry experts say it isn’t at all surprising. Since its launch, the goal was always to sway users in the direction of digital downloads and keep diehard music fans intertwined within the iOS system so that they wouldn’t venture off to other streamers such as Pandora and Spotify. Unfortunately for Apple, their plan didn’t work as well as they’d hoped mostly because iTunes Radio didn’t give users anything unique that they couldn’t find elsewhere.
The gamble now is that with iTunes Radio bundled into the Apple Music fold, the prospect of having commercial free radio like Pandora, as well as a complete on-demand streaming service for only $10 per month will prove irresistible to consumers.
Whether the gamble pays off remains to be seen, but Apple Music is doing just fine regardless.
Last week, the company reported having over ten million paid subscribers in less than seven months of being available. It took Spotify approximately six years to reach that plateau.