MacMost Now 922: A Look At iTunes Radio

Take a look at iTunes Radio, the new streaming music service from Apple. You can stream music based on a song, artist or genre using your Mac, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or Apple TV. You can create several stations and continue to customize them.

Video Transcript
Hi this is Gary with MacMost Now. On today's episode let's take a look at iTunes Radio.

iTunes Radio is a new service from Apple. It is available on your Mac, some PC's. It is on iOS devices running iOS 7 and even on Apple TV's running the latest version 6.0 of the operating system.

iTunes Radio is a streaming music service. The way it works is you give it a song or an artist or a genre and it will play music related to that song, artist, or genre.

It may not necessarily play the song or artist that you specified but it will play music that kind of sounds like it and it may actually then play that artist from time to time.

It works very similar, as a matter of fact pretty much exactly the same, to services as Pandora and Last FM that have been around for a while.

So when you first upgrade to iTunes 11.1 on your Mac you will be faced with something like this where it tells you iTunes radio is now available on your Mac and you can press the start listening button.

Once you go in there it will give you some featured stations that are suggested and you can also add a station here below.

So let's start by adding our own station. Click that button there and type any artist that you want in there. So type that and it will give me some suggestions down here of specific songs that I may like or I can just choose the artist overall here. It will create that radio station here and then it will start playing music from it. You can see it streaming there. In this case it is going to play a song by the Beatles right off the bat. But the next one may not be.

What this is basically doing is playing my own personal radio station. Nobody else is hearing these songs at the same time as I am. It is just streaming from Apple to my Mac and playing this. Then when this song is done it will play another song. I will see a history build up here. I can actually skip some songs. I'm going to skip this song here and you can see it will play another one. So I've got a new song playing here and I've got a history of the songs I recently heard right here.

Now there are various other controls. For instance I can go back up to radio here by clicking the X button there and you can see there is the station and it is still playing but I can jump to another station. I can also add another station here. It even lets me turn whether or not you can hear explicit lyrics on or off which is good if you are listening in the car with your kids.

That brings up the subject of listening to iTunes Radio on an iOS device. On your iPhone or iPad or your iPod Touch, as long as you have iOS 7 you can go into the music app. There is no special app for iTunes Radio. It is just inside the music app. You can see there along the bottom you've got Radio. Tap that and you can see those featured stations and your station.

If you are using an iCloud account it's going to sync your station between all your devices. So if you have set up a station on one you should see it on the other. You can tap on a station there and it will begin playing the music from there as you can see.

Now the cool thing about iTunes Radio is you don't stop when you just create the station by naming a song or an artist. You can actually fine tune the station.

For instance, here in iOS if I tap the star button you can see that I have some options. I can hit play more like this or never play this song. These will fine tune the station to get it more that I want. So if you choose an artist but say they have songs over a wide range of genres you can kind of basically use these two buttons. On Pandora it was thumbs up and thumbs down. It is the same thing here where you are fine tuning the station so you hear more of the songs that you want.

Now iTunes Match is free but there is advertising in it. Every few songs or so an ad will play. But you can get rid of the ads by simply being a subscriber to iTunes Match. iTunes Match is a $25 a year service where you can upload all of your music to Apple's Cloud servers and then access them from any of your devices.

So as a bonus for iTunes Match users they also get ads removed from iTunes Radio.

Now note that iTunes Radio is very new and there is going to be, I'm sure, some changes in the next few weeks and months as the system matures. For one thing the iTunes Radio interface in iTunes on the Mac isn't quite as robust as the one in iOS but we can expect maybe when Mavericks comes out later this year that iTunes Radio there will have all the features that iOS has.

Also there is a new client for Apple TV that allows you to access iTunes Radio there as well.

Now keep in mind this is streaming music service so it is streaming over the internet. So you need some sort of internet connection. A typical WiFi connection at home or at work should be fine for streaming music like this. But of course if you are mobile then it is going to be more difficult. As a matter of fact iTunes is going to warn you if you try to use it the first time over a connection through your mobile carrier. People have been using other services over a mobile carrier for a long time. I have and it really doesn't effect the band width that much. So it is something you want to monitor if you have a very restricted band width package.

So there is a quick look at iTunes Radio. Since it is free and easy to try whether you are on a Mac, Apple TV or using an iOS device just give it a go. Create a few stations though, not just one. No one station is going to fit all the different types of music you like. It is better maybe to create a station that is specific to a mood or an activity and create a set of them so you can pick and choose between iTunes radio stations.

Hope you found this useful. Until next time this is Gary with MacMost Now.

Comments: 33 Responses to “MacMost Now 922: A Look At iTunes Radio”

    9/25/13 @ 8:40 am

    is itunes radio available in canada? cannot find it on my 1phone 5 nither on itunes actually itunes “radio” is now showing as “internet”

      9/25/13 @ 9:13 am

      iTunes Radio isn’t available in Canada yet. Soon, probably.

        Vasco Galv√£o
        9/26/13 @ 1:28 am

        Is there a list with the countries where it is available?

    9/26/13 @ 8:17 am

    I have downloaded the newest version of iTunes twice now, once directly from iTunes on my Mac, and once from the Apple website, and it shows that I have the newest version now (11.1), but Radio is no where to be found. I’ve asked around online to see if anybody has this problem, but I seem to be the only one. Bummer. It does work great on my iPhone 4S, though!

      9/26/13 @ 8:27 am

      Go to your Music library. Look at the top. You should see: Songs, Albums, Artists, Genres, Radio, Internet. Click Radio.

        9/26/13 @ 8:41 am

        That’s the problem………it continues to say “Match” where it’s supposed to say “Radio”………and it won’t let me update again because it says I have the current version. Weird.

    Paul Hadlow
    9/26/13 @ 8:18 am

    Great video but it is a shame iTunes Radio is not yet available in Australia but at least when it does get here I’ll know how to use it.

    9/26/13 @ 8:22 am

    Seems like, “imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.” I’ve been a paid subscriber to Pandora for years, but iTunes Radio is currently less expensive. Thanks, Gary, …always interesting videos/tips/hints and info.

    9/26/13 @ 9:45 am

    iTunes Radio didn’t show up on my updated Apple TV so I called Apple Support/Apple TV. They didn’t know why, put me on hold, and came back to tell me it will be a near future feature on upcoming Apple TV. All Apple promo sites show it is available, but it’s not.

      9/26/13 @ 10:20 am

      The 6.0 upgrade was pulled for a bit, but I think it is back now. You need Apple TV 6.0 for iTunes Radio.

        9/29/13 @ 7:29 am

        Did another lengthly update this morning and Radio is now there. Tried Abba radio as a test. One Abba song and 90 minutes without another Abba song. Guess they don’t want to pay the royalties.

          9/29/13 @ 8:32 am

          That’s not the reason. The reason is that iTunes Radio (like Pandora or is for music discovery. You wouldn’t discover any new music if you said you wanted Abba and all you got was Abba.
          If you want to hear only Abba, then create a playlist of all of your Abba songs and play it, shuffled.

    9/26/13 @ 9:58 am

    Pandora is much better. This thing seems to flip a coin to decide what to play next. I created five stations and have deleted them all. Another Tim Cook White Elephant!

      9/26/13 @ 10:24 am

      Try adjusting some of the controls for the station. You can set it from Hits to Variety to Discovery. Discovery is probably more like Pandora, with more of an emphasis on song similarity and less on whether the song is popular. Plus, you can “Add Artist Or Song” to fine-tune your station.
      Your results are going to be different than Pandora because iTunes is a much much larger music collection.

        Carole Martin
        10/3/13 @ 5:48 pm

        How do you delete a ‘station’ once you click it. Do they all cost?

          10/3/13 @ 6:58 pm

          On a Mac, you Control+Click on the station and then select delete.
          iTunes Radio is free. If you pay for iTunes Match you get “no commercials” on iTunes Radio as a bonus.

    9/26/13 @ 10:28 am

    I’m going off topic first by saying you are my “go to” for anything Apple related. Always very well explained without dumbing down.

    Back on topic- I’m admittedly an older guy, and they probably aren’t gearing anything to my age (60), but I don’t get the appeal of these services. I set up an Elton station – it took 8 songs to hear an Elton song! I LOVE Rhapsody. You pay them, you download or stream exactly what you like. Done! (No -I don’t work for them!!)

      9/26/13 @ 10:34 am

      “Radio” is the key word here. You can buy music, like always, or subscribe to a service, and you can play what you want. But iTunes Radio, like “Radio” is a way to discover new music. If you only listen to music that you specifically choose, then how will you discover new artists you may like? That’s what radio has always brought to the music scene, and it is what iTunes Radio can do too. I use Pandora and now iTunes Radio so I can discover new artists.

    9/26/13 @ 12:16 pm

    I don’t use itunes to listen to radio, but I’ve noticed a weird quirk in the program. When saving a song that begins with “A” or “The”, it files the song beginning with the second word in the title. Example: “The Soft Parade” is filed under “Soft Parade”. It’s not a big problem, but it’s annoying to have to go to “Get Info” and then “sorting” in order to make the correction. There doesn’t seem to be anything in “Preferences” to change this.

      9/26/13 @ 1:00 pm

      I don’t know if that is a quirk. That’s intentional. Usually titles are sorted alphabetically that way.

    9/26/13 @ 1:06 pm

    I have just looked in the settings of iTunes 11.1, didn’t find iTunes Match but did find “Internet Radio” which I think is only available after I have purchased iTunes Match, so it is not showing now.

    Personally I am in the UK and I’ll buy iTunes Match for the Radio feature, but only if it is available in the UK. I suggest the read following article published today which suggests it will be in the UK very soon.

      9/26/13 @ 1:13 pm

      You do not need to purchase iTunes Match to use iTunes Radio. As I state in the video, iTunes Match will get you the benefit of no commercials in iTunes Radio, but you can certainly have iTunes Radio without iTunes Match.

    Mr Anthony Cotton
    9/26/13 @ 2:26 pm

    I see by your video you have good music taste. Picking The Beatles
    I can`t comment on this because I am waiting for the new Mac Mini`s to come out.

    Marsha Wilson
    9/27/13 @ 11:55 am

    I love itunes radio. I do have a question. Why does it not play continuously? I was playing on apple tv and it played beautifully for quite awhile, and then the music stopped. When I started it on my computer again, it played. But I had to do this quite often after it first started. Can I fix this through Apple, or is it an internet problem.

    How do I turn the music off? Just exit the program?

      9/27/13 @ 12:44 pm

      Impossible to say. Could be any number of things causing trouble. To stop it, simply hit the pause button, or play something else.

    9/27/13 @ 10:15 pm

    I am running iTunes 11.1 and can not locate “radio” anywhere on iTunes.

      9/28/13 @ 7:36 am

      Go to your Music library. Look for Radio at the top.

    10/5/13 @ 5:08 am

    My iPhone4 has iTunes Radio but won’t let me play anything. It says ‘network unavailable.” “Connect to Wi-Fi network or use cellular data for iTunes Radio.” Then has a button “Use Cellular Data” Even when I press that button nothing happens. What should I do?

      10/5/13 @ 8:54 am

      Impossible to guess what could be wrong without a first-hand look. But you can try things. Play around with it. Restart. Delete that station and create a new one. See what happens.

    10/14/13 @ 1:28 pm

    Gary, your video show the “star” for “More Like This” and the “X” for “Never Play This Again” on an IOS device. Is there a similar way to do this when listening on my Mac? Is that the “Mavericks” you referred to? Also, is there a way to set up several “stations” to shuffle between?

      10/14/13 @ 1:45 pm

      When the song is playing in iTunes, move your cursor over the song name at the very top of iTunes. You’ll see an arrow appear to the right. Click that and you’ll get the star and other options.
      You can also double-click on the album art at the very top and it will expand to a mini player with the star and other options.

    Tony Cirocco
    10/31/13 @ 7:24 am

    Gary, your piece is spot on, as usual.

Comments Closed.