Music is constantly being re-imagined by artists themselves and, more recently, by websites and applications that bring the music to the listeners. Everyone is relatively familiar with Pandora, Spotify and other listening resources. The pros and cons of these applications are a world unto themselves, and something this article won’t be getting into. Instead, the purpose is to introduce a new service similar to on-demand, personalized radio iTunes Radio.
Like Pandora, iTunes Radio users can create their own stations based on genre, artist or song, and listen, occasionally interrupted by short audio or video advertisements. This is hardly new and exciting itself. It’s the other features that really make iTunes Radio unique.
The ability to add songs directly to an “iTunes wishlist” stored with your login information, then access this list easily the next time you wish to add to your library is convenient and cuts down on all the search time or accidental purchase of the wrong version.
Something I personally find awesome are the iTunes featured stations. These three stations include new album releases, the weekly top 50 songs bought by iTunes users that week, featured genres, the songs and albums nominated for Grammy’s. This is particularly useful, since it provides an opportunity to discover and enjoy music to which you may not otherwise be exposed. Especially in Bozeman, where radio stations don’t tend to have much variety.
The personalization of stations is much harder than on Pandora, which is something Apple will hopefully improve upon. iTunes Radio also lacks the specific song selection that makes Spotify so well-loved. But, as far as new music discovery and ease of use goes, iTunes Radio is an easy winner. It is pre-installed and free (so long as you don’t mind ads) on all Apple devices and comes with the iTunes download. However, it does require Wi-Fi to run.