The package is simple; an Internet radio service with an Apple design, complete with a one-click “buy” button for easy purchases and a lowercase “i” at the front to ensure loyal users. Could iRadio be the gift the music business has been waiting for?
For many in the music business, the release of iTunes was a let down in regards to sales income that was being lost with illegal music downloads. While the industry was happy to see a slight increase in sales after piracy had become the norm, iTunes still takes a large portion of all song and album sales (over 50% in most cases). Because of this, iTunes did little to ease the continuing downfall of the recording industry, but the advent of Internet streaming services, like Pandora and Spotify, allowed users to get their free music in a legal service.
Thus far, artists have seen little increase in royalties from streaming services, but this could change in the coming years, all because artists will also get exposure in foreign markets. Because iTunes has 575 million users in 119 countries, the new service will reach far more users than Pandora, which only operates in the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand, according to this Rolling Stone article.
While global exposure is key to iRadio’s success, some critics argue that the service is too basic to compete with Pandora and other long-standing radio services. This might be true, but iRadio has something other services don’t: simplicity and accessibility. With iRadio, Apple has made iTunes a one-stop-shop for users who want the comfort of their music library with the unpredictability of radio all in one place. Users can now organize, store, discover, purchase, and listen to new music without changing programs on their desktop, tablet, or phone; something Pandora and Spotify have yet to establish.
The key for the music industry in this set up is simple: the buy button. iRadio makes it easy for listeners to discover new music without actively pursuing it, then gives them the option to buy the song without having to click away from the page. With iRadio, Apple is putting simplicity and accessibility back into purchasing music for streaming users, which could bring digital song sales profits back to the recording industry.