Apple Ceases Free iTunes Radio Streaming Worldwide

Apple today officially ended free streaming of its iTunes Radio channels worldwide, incorporating the catalogue of stations into its subscription-based Apple Music service.

The change follows Apple’s announcement earlier this month that its free radio-listening feature would be discontinued at the end of January but would remain available to Apple Music subscribers.

As of this morning, iOS Music app users who tap on a radio station are bounced to a screen prompting them to join Apple’s premium streaming music service.

Likewise, iTunes users on a Mac who attempt to access the stations or create their own are met with a dialog window asking them to „Get on Our Wavelength“ and join Apple Music.

Users with an iTunes Match subscription are also no longer able to access the stations. However, Apple’s Beats 1 radio channel remains available to iTunes users worldwide as a free listening option.

Apple had quietly continued to offer ad-supported iTunes Radio stations in the United States and Australia even after the launch of Apple Music on June 30, 2015. However, after the company’s decision to wind down its mobile iAd platform, the feature was already being limited in other regions to those who pay for Apple’s streaming music service.

iTunes Radio was originally released with iTunes 11.1 and iOS 7 as a free ad-supported service, offering music discovery through featured and genre stations provided by Apple or through the creation of new stations based on a specific artist or song.

Tags: iTunes Radio, Apple Music, iAd
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Apple Ending Ad-Supported iTunes Radio Stations at End of January

As part of the winding down of its iAd platform, Apple today sent out a notice to customers who listen to its radio service letting them know the radio feature is being discontinued at the end of January.

In the email, Apple says that Beats 1 radio will be the only free listening option available to those who do not subscribe to the Apple Music service. Customers who listen to radio stations sans ads with an iTunes Match subscription are also receiving the emails and will no longer be able to listen to radio stations as an iTunes Match perk.

Apple has quietly continued to offer ad-supported iTunes Radio stations in the United States and Australia even after the launch of Apple Music, but with the end of its current iAd platform on the horizon, the feature will be limited to those who pay for Apple Music going forward. Customers in Australia are receiving emails stating the radio service will end on January 29, while U.S. customers are receiving emails that suggest it will no longer be available as of January 28.

Earlier this week, BuzzFeed reporter John Paczkowski said that Apple was working towards dismantling its in-house iAd sales team in favor of a more automated platform. This afternoon, Apple announced the end of its iAd App Network, and it’s likely there will be additional changes to products and services as the iAd platform is revamped.

Tags: iTunes Radio, Apple Music
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Multiple Apple Services Experiencing Widespread Outage [Updated]

Apple has updated its system status page to reflect widespread issues affecting multiple Apple products and services since approximately 7:30 PM Pacific, including the App Store, Apple TV, iBooks Store, iTunes Match, iTunes Store, Mac App Store and Radio.

Many users are also unable to fully access or use the Apple website, Apple Online Store, Apple ID, Apple Music, FaceTime, iCloud, iMessage, Mail, TestFlight and several other Apple services, suggesting possible larger server or DNS issues.

Apple’s standard response on its system status page says it is investigating and will provide a status update as more information becomes available.

Update 8:38 PM: Apple’s system status page now indicates the issues have been resolved, and users are indeed reporting Apple’s services are up and running once again.

Tags: App Store, iTunes, Apple, iMessage, iCloud, system status
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T-Mobile Unveils Doubled Data Plans, Free Video Streaming at Un-Carrier X Event

T-Mobile CEO John Legere today hosted an Un-Carrier X event, where he announced T-Mobile’s latest offering, free video streaming. Going forward, T-Mobile customers who watch streaming video will not have the video data count towards their monthly data usage.

That means services like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu will no longer eat up data, making T-Mobile’s data plans go further. T-Mobile’s lowest-priced plan costs $50 per month and includes just 2GB of data, but T-Mobile is now the only company that excludes video streaming data from data usage. T-Mobile also allows for free streaming music, a perk introduced at an earlier event.

With the new Binge-On free video streaming service, there are 24 current partners, and the program is open to any video streaming product that wants to participate. Binge-On uses a proprietary data compression algorithm to stream 480p „DVD quality“ video that uses a smaller amount of data to a T-Mobile device. For those who don’t want to use the compression service, it can be toggled off. Binge-On is available to customers with a 3GB plan or higher.

Binge-On partners at launch include Netflix, HBO Now, HBO Go, Hulu, WatchESPN, Showtime, Starz Play, Encore Play, Vevo,, NBC Sports, Movieplex Play, Vessel, Sling TV, Sling Box, T-Mobile TV, Go90, DirecTV, Univision Sports, Crackle, FOX Sports, FOX Sports Go, Vudu, and Ustream.

T-Mobile has also doubled the amount of data available to its Simple Choice customers. Rather than offering data in 1GB, 3GB, and 5GB increments, T-Mobile is now offering 2GB, 6GB, 10GB, and unlimited plans.

Customer plans are being doubled at no cost and a new Family Match promotion doubles the amount of data available to each family member. A family of four can now get 6GB of data each for a total of $120 per month using Family Match. Family Match includes a free fourth line for all customers as part of a limited time promotion.

Over the course of the last two years, T-Mobile has aimed to disrupt traditional mobile service with its 10 „Un-carrier“ initiatives. The company began with uncoupling device costs from service costs in 2013, and then went on to offer several additional incentives to encourage customers to switch to the carrier, including paying early termination fees, offering a JUMP! upgrade plan, unlimited texting and 2G data in 100 countries, free streaming music from Spotify, Rdio, iTunes Radio, and Pandora, one week free trials to test the T-Mobile service, Wi-Fi calling, data rollovers, and low-cost plans for businesses.

Tag: T-Mobile
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Apple Music metadata is messing up your music

If you’ve been having problems with Apple Music and iCloud Music Library incorrectly matching songs in your library, you’re far from the only one. It turns out the reason is that Apple Music doesn’t use the same method for matching songs you own as iTunes Match does. This results in significantly more errors and frustrated […]

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Apple Releases iTunes 12.2.1 With iTunes Match Fix

Apple today released iTunes 12.2.1, a minor update that introduces some much needed bug fixes for iTunes Match and other features introduced with Apple Music. Apple Music was first released two weeks ago, but included several major bugs with iTunes Match that caused the deletion of entire music libraries and other issues, such as an inability to sign up for Apple Music for former iTunes Match subscribers.

The iTunes 12.2.1 update is available immediately from the Software Update mechanism in the Mac App Store.

– Fixes an issue for iTunes Match where iTunes incorrectly changed some songs from Matched to Apple Music.
– Provides a way to correct a library problem affecting former iTunes Match subscribers.
– Includes minor bug fixes and improvements for Beats 1.

Today’s update fixes the iTunes Match issue that caused iTunes to incorrectly label songs from Matched to Apple Music and it will allow several former iTunes Match subscribers who were unable to sign up for Apple Music to get the service for the first time. In addition, it also includes bug fixes for the Beats 1 radio station, which is built into Apple Music.

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iCloud Music Library adds DRM without buying you dinner first

Well iCloud Music Library is pissing people off already. The new service almost identical to iTunes Match has a DRM problem. Turned on, iCloud Music Library is taking the music you rightfully own and place in your iTunes library and automatically adding…Read more ›

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Getting Started With Apple Music and Beats 1 on iOS, Mac and PC [iOS Blog]

Today marks the official worldwide launch of Apple Music, a subscription-based streaming music service and Spotify rival for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, PC and, later this year, Apple TV and Android.

Apple Music, arguably the company’s biggest music initiative since opening the iTunes Store in 2003, requires updating to iOS 8.4 on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch or downloading iTunes 12.2 for Mac and PC.

Apple Music

Apple Music is an all-in-one streaming music service, live global radio station and social platform for artists to connect with fans. The service costs $9.99 per month, the same price as virtually all streaming music competitors, although Apple is offering a free three-month trial period to encourage customers to try it out. Apple Music is available in over 100 countries, including the United States.

Apple Music provides unlimited streaming of almost the entire iTunes Store catalog of music without needing to purchase songs or albums individually. Instead of paying $1.29 per song download, for example, subscribers have millions of songs at their fingertips for essentially the cost of an album. A family plan through iTunes Sharing for up to six members is also available for $14.99 per month.

Built into the stock Music app on iOS 8.4 and iTunes on Mac and PC, Apple Music provides side-by-side access to both your downloaded iTunes songs and albums and streaming music library, which should prove to be a more convenient option than third-party apps such as Spotify, Google Play Music and Rdio for most Apple users. Apple succinctly describes it as „the best ways to enjoy music — all in one place.“

Apple Music is largely based upon Beats Music, which Apple acquired alongside Beats Electronics for $3 billion last year. For example, the app features human curated playlists and recommendations from artists and music experts for improved personalization over algorithmically created playlists.

While customers do not own their Apple Music collection, the service offers unlimited online streaming over Wi-Fi or a cellular data connection, and the option to download songs or albums for offline playback. As long as a customer continues paying for their monthly subscription, they retain on-demand access to the iTunes Store catalog and their personal playlists.

Just like iTunes Match, Apple Music can scan your iTunes music library and upload any tracks not already included in Apple Music, making them seamlessly available to stream on all of your devices. iTunes Match will remain available as a standalone service priced at $25 per year for those who don’t want to subscribe to Apple Music, but Apple Music users won’t need to pay for both services.

Right now, Apple Music and iTunes Match can only handle iTunes libraries of up to 25,000 tracks (songs purchased from the iTunes Store don’t count toward the limit), although Eddy Cue has said Apple is working to increase the limit to 100,000 tracks later this year as part of iOS 9.

Apple has existing deals with major record labels, including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group, and has also reached agreements with over 20,000 indie labels through Beggars Group and Merlin, meaning that Apple Music should have in the range of 37 million tracks available right now. Comparatively, market leader Spotify has some 30 million tracks available.

Apple has partnered with artists to offer exclusive content through Apple Music, in an attempt to differentiate the service from competitors. The company kickstarted those efforts by making Pharrell’s new single „Freedom“ and Dr. Dre’s album „Chronic“ exclusive to Apple Music, while pop artist Taylor Swift’s most recent best-selling „1989“ album has landed on Apple Music before any other streaming service.

Getting Started

Update your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to iOS 8.4. Tap on Settings > General > Software Update.
Open the new Music app and tap on the „Start 3 Month Free Trial“ button.
Choose between the Individual Plan or Family Plan for $9.99 per month and $14.99 per month respectively.
Apple will verify that your payment information is up to date and ask you to confirm your Apple Music subscription.
On the main „For You“ tab of Apple Music, tap on the bubbles of music genres such as Electronic, Rock or Indie that you like.
Next, tap on the bubbles of specific artists related to those genres that you like.
Apple Music will generate curated playlists and music recommendations for you based on your personal music taste.

Beats 1 Radio

Apple Music is supplemented by Beats 1, a 24/7 live global radio station anchored by renowned DJs Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden and Julie Adenuga from Los Angeles, New York City and London respectively, providing a mix of the latest and best music around the world. The radio station will also feature guest interviews, the first being Lowe and hip-hop artist and rapper Eminem.

Beats 1 is broadcast in over 100 countries and free to listen to without an Apple Music subscription, accompanied by several iTunes Radio-inspired curated radio stations with unlimited skips. Without an Apple Music subscription, users can listen to ad-supported radio stations with limited song skips available.

Beats 1 is broken down into one- and two-hour slots that are sometimes hosted and produced by celebrities and musicians, including actor Will Smith’s 16-year-old son Jaden Smith, alternative singer St. Vincent, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and the British electronic duo Disclosure. Other programming blocks will be hosted by artists such as Drake, Dr. Dre, Elton John and Pharrell Williams.

Apple Music Connect

The third component of Apple Music is Connect, a social platform built into the app that allows users to connect with artists, including sharing, liking and commenting on lyrics, backstage photos, videos and songs. Apple hopes that Apple Music Connect will help both major and indie artists easily promote their music and engage with their fans.

Apple Music aims to stand out among a myriad of streaming music services by offering a larger music library, exclusive content from artists, Beats 1 and curated radio stations and Apple Music Connect. With access to some 800 million iTunes accounts with credit cards on files, Apple Music could one day be a leading streaming service, but for now it will be playing catch up.

Signing up to Apple Music is as simple as opening the stock Music app on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 8.4, or iTunes 12.2 on Mac or PC, and following the steps on the subscription menu. Apple will not begin charging subscribers until their free three-month trial period has eclipsed, and users are free to cancel their subscription beforehand to avoid payment.

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Apple Yet to Contact Indie Publishers for Apple Music Streaming Rights [iOS Blog]

With exactly two weeks until the launch of Apple Music, details about the revenue sharing model for the streaming music service continue to emerge. Billboard reports that Apple has yet to contact independent music publishers about Apple Music, leading many indie labels to believe that the Cupertino-based company will soon send a bulk email to publishers with an opt-in contract attached.

Apple will reportedly offer indie music publishers a headline rate of 13.5% revenue, higher than the 12% it pays for iTunes Match and 10% it pays for iTunes Radio. Apple will pay indie labels slightly higher rates than the industry standard, contributing to Apple Music’s overall 71.5% revenue sharing, in return for making no royalty payments during the three-month free trial it will offer consumers.

„That free trial, with no payments being made to rights holders, precluded Apple from taking advantage of the statutory licenses that most interactive streaming services use. Under that statutory license, Apple must send notices of intent (NOIs) to publishers with a list of the songs they plan to use, and then make payment to publishers using a three-tier formula approved by the Copyright Royalty Board.“

The 13.5% headline rate is reportedly part of a larger payment formula that will be used to determine royalties paid to rights holders.

Apple Music was announced last week as an all-in-one streaming music service, live global radio station and social platform for artists to connect with fans. The subscription-based service will be available June 30 for $9.99 per month after a three-month free trial period for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac and PC. Apple TV and Android versions of the service will be available in the fall.

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