iRadio Is Coming! (Probably Monday)

I know I've written about it a LOT, but today's news indicates that iRadio is finally, finally going to be a real thing. Probably as soon as Monday.

According to a wide range of reports, the last of the major labels (Sony) has signed on, just in time for WWDC.

But what's the big deal, really? Don't we already have plenty of streaming music services? Spotify, Pandora, and several dozen others? Heck, Google just announced one last week, and nobody really cared.

So what gives, AAAD? Why does iRadio matter? Here's why.
iRadio will be a lot like Pandora, in that you won't have direct, Spotify-level control of what music plays when.

It will, however, have 2 major advantages on Pandora.

Years and Years of Genius Data

iRadio's first advantage is that Apple already knows what kind of music you like.

Apple has been the top music retailer in the world for years now, and the odds are very strong that you've purchased a number of songs from the iTunes store.

The odds are equally strong that you have an iTunes music library, and that you've used the Genius function in order to create customized playlists.

Multiply that across the millions and millions of iTunes users... and you come to see that Apple has a massive data advantage.

They know what music you like, because they know what they've sold you, and they know what's in your library. Just as importantly, they know what music everyone else likes - they ARE the iTunes Chart.

If you have purchased (and played) a lot of Mumford & Sons music.... you're going to get served up the new Mumford single... and probably some Lumineers and Avett Brothers.

Apple can see that "The Way" by Ariana Grande is the #1 song, and is being heavily purchased by people who have also purchased (or heavily played) Mariah Carey. So they serve up Ariana to Mariah fans, and Mariah to Ariana fans.

And if you're a fan of easy classic rock like Jackson Browne or Eagles, but not really familiar with new music, you might get served up some Dawes. And so on.

Connected to Your iTunes Library

iRadio's second advantage is that it will, in all likelihood, work in tandem with your iTunes libary and playlists.

When you listen to iRadio, most of the songs will be streaming.... but not ALL of the songs.

Occasionally, iRadio will play tracks from your OWN library, thereby allowing iRadio to build up its streaming buffer, or simply to avoid racking up wireless data usage.

I'm looking forward to this.... there are corners of my library that I haven't heard in years. iRadio will reconnect us with music we'd forgotten we loved.

Even better - iRadio will offer one-click purchasing. You won't have to leave your streaming app, go to the iTunes Music Store, look up the song, and purchase.

And with every purchase you make, iRadio will get to know your likes and dislikes a bit more.

Bottom Line

I don't know how iRadio will be delivered - will it be a standalone iOS app/OSX application? An extra feature in iTunes/iOS Music? I'm presuming that it will be fully AirPlay-enabled, out of the box.

But according to basically everyone, we'll find out on Monday!


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