Apple culls free radio stations from Apple Music

Alex Kidman 18 January 2016


From the end of January, the beat will only go on for free for Beats1.

When Apple Music launched in Australia, it did so with a two tier strategy, offering a fully paid all-you-can-listen style service, a la competitors Spotify or Guvera, as well as a radio service which was free, albeit ad-supported. In addition, it also launched Beats1, a fully free service headed up by ex BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe.

Apple has announced that as of the end of January, the ad-supported radio stations, which you could listen to even if you weren’t a paying Apple Music subscriber will be shuffled behind the Apple Music paywall.

What will that mean if I’m an Apple Music subscriber?

The biggest change if you’re using Apple’s three month trial, or if you’re already paying for a subscription, is that you’ll be able to listen to Apple’s radio stations without advertising interruptions. It doesn’t appear at this stage that Apple intends to actively shutter any existing radio offerings for paying Apple Music subscribers.

What will that mean if I’m not an Apple Music subscriber?

If you’re not currently trialling or paying for Apple Music, the only remaining Apple "radio" station available to you will be Beats1.

That doesn’t mean that if radio-style broadcasting is your jam that you’re entirely out of options. The obvious online competitor platform is Pandora, which operates in Australia thanks to the way actual radio licensing works here. Pandora’s entire model is one of radio-style streaming built off a single artist, track or style choice. Pandora is available in ad-supported and paid versions. Likewise, Spotify offers a radio-style feature in its free tiers which naturally enough extends to its paid customers too.

It’s also worth checking actual radio stations for live Internet streams, as it can be an excellent way to gain access to every style of music under the sun, as well as listen in to stations despite geographical differences.

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