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Reaction to Apple’s iTunes Radio Mixed

Streamers publicly unruffled while broadcaster stresses lack of local content

Reaction to Apple’s new streaming music service “iTunes Radio” has been mixed.

Most analysts agree that the new service competes most directly with Pandora.

That company, however, doesn’t agree. A Pandora spokesman likened it to an evolution of Apple’s iTunes offering that brings it on par with other streaming music services that have added radio into their feature sets.

“We have spent the last 13 years singularly focused on redefining radio and benefit from unrivaled intellectual property, deep experience in delivering personalized playlists, and ubiquitous product availability across every platform. We make it effortless for our more than 200 million registered users to connect with the music they love anytime, anywhere,” according to the Pandora spokesman.

Another streamer, Slacker, agrees, with CEO Jim Cady telling Radio World, “Maybe people do want to rent music, after all.”

“Apple finally jumping into the streaming music space validates the work we’ve been doing at Slacker since 2010, offering anytime, anywhere access to the world’s music library on any device,” Cady continued. “Apple creates great products, but unless you’re in the Apple ecosystem you’re out of luck. Walled gardens don’t benefit listeners and Slacker believes in the importance of giving users true freedom to access their content, whether they’re on iOS, Android, Windows, a smart TV, Xbox or in-car infotainment system.”

Of course, broadcast radio stations stream, too. Greater Media VP Program Development Buzz Knight told Radio World it wasn’t surprising that Apple got into the streaming radio space because there’s success out there to look at when it comes to music and specifically what the audience wants in terms of its own curation.

“I think every competitive force that radio faces affects broadcast streaming radio and continues to raise expectations of every bit of our content from good to great,” said Knight, speaking from Detroit today. “Whether it’s Google’s service, Spotify or Apple, all of these forces are kind of the same challenge for radio and really shouldn’t be ignored.” But rather, “they should elevate the importance of excellence in what we and personalities do and what we can add to the experience. Localism is vital to radio as well as the need to be relevant and breathing entities, he added.