Will Apple’s iTunes Radio Put a Lock on Pandora’s Box?

Apple recently announced an addition to its new iOS7 software, which will incorporate its own version of Pandora’s Internet Radio service titled, iTunes Radio. The service will function very similarly to Pandora, but will harness the data accumulated through the user’s iTunes account in order to see what music the listener currently likes, has liked in the past, and takes both into account when selecting new music for them.

Unlike Pandora, iTunes Radio will feature the ability to “tune” each station selection based on whether the listener wants more of the music to be familiar or new to the—a feature foreign to Pandora listeners.

Boasting 200 million registered users, Pandora seems confident in its ability to stay atop the pack, even with the introduction of iTunes Radio come fall. Supporters of Apple’s endeavor to venture into into the Internet radio sphere claim that the Achilles heel of Pandora could come in the form of its lack of music label relationships. Pandora has yet to expand globally due to regulations worldwide. Apple on the other hand, has had working relationships with music labels globally, with their iTunes software currently present in 119 countries.

Another groundbreaking feature for iTunes Radio is its integration of Siri. Having the ability to ask your phone to “Play more music like this,” or “Play jazz radio,” iTunes Radio will make enjoying music even simpler.

Currently 1 in 5 Pandora users stream the service from their mobile device. With Apple simplifying an almost identical service, it could potentially rank the software as the new Internet radio elite.

Yet despite all of the Apple buzz, there still remains a strong likelihood that the iTunes Radio could flop just like iTunes Ping, the unsuccessful attempt to integrate social media into iTunes in 2010.

Pandora and Spotify boast very strong followings. People have developed loyalties, where many users are now even purchasing monthly subscriptions to have access to their music on and offline (Spotify Premium.) In order to surpass an already strong establishment, Apple needs to not only flaunt these exciting new features, but also deliver a completely new experience come the program’s launch this fall.

Debbie Szwast
With 20 years of advertising and PR experience, Debbie Szwast understands the multifaceted nature of marketing. A true believer in the art of communication, she acquired an MBA in marketing and a Master’s degree in writing. Today, she calls on the knowledge she has gained over the past two decades to formulate big-picture strategies and execute comprehensive marketing plans for clients across the country.