iTunes Radio attracts 11 million users in less than a week

iTunes Radio attracts 11 million users in less than a week

One of the new features introduced with iOS 7 and iTunes 11.1 last week is iTunes Radio, which lets you listen to streamed music that you don't have to buy first. More than 11 million unique listeners have already tried out iTunes Radio, according to Apple.

iTunes Radio is Apple's first crack at a streaming music service and it's already racked up a respectable user base in the blink of an eye. The service's 11 million unique users are just in the United States, the first (and so far, only) country where iTunes Radio has launched. Apple VP Eddy Cue suggested that iTunes Radio will expand internationally eventually - though much like iTunes Stores, much of that will hinge on Apple's abilities to negotiate licensing deals with the artists and labels whose music they want to include.

By comparison, another popular streaming music service, Spotify, claims more than 24 million users. Spotify operates in 28 countries and launched in 2008. Pandora, which launched its own streaming music service in 2005, claims to have 70 million active users, with more than 200 million registered users in total.

Apple says the most listened-to song on iTunes Radio is Drake's Hold On, We're Going Home. It's one of Apple's top ten best-selling songs in the iTunes Store, as well.

iTunes Radio is free to use and ad-supported, but if you use Apple's iTunes Match subscription service, iTunes Radio is ad-free.

Are you using iTunes Radio? Have you created any stations of your own? I'm a big fan of The Smiths and other 80s alt-rock, so here's mine. Share yours in the comments!

Have something to say about this story? Share your comments below! Need help with something else? Submit your question!

Peter Cohen

Managing Editor of iMore, Mac and gaming specialist and all-around technologist. Follow him on Twitter @flargh

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iTunes Radio attracts 11 million users in less than a week

23 Comments

I've used it but there are kinks that still need to be worked out. The problem I'm having is that the same tracks are being played twice or three times! For instance a Radiohead song played then iTunes Radio played the same Radiohead song one or two songs later. I've had this problems on multiple playlists and no specific artists.

I've noticed this as well. In fact, just this morning I remember a specific trio of songs (each from a different artist) and 15 minutes later it play the EXACT SAME three songs in the same order!

"Tried." <-- not the same as subscribed/interested users. I tried it and realized I have 0 use for it when I realized I couldn't skip but a few times. Useless to me, as I don't like Pandora anymore so a clone is just as useless.

I'm sure plenty will enjoy it though. It just isn't for me.

Count me in two statistics:

+1 iTunes Radio
-1 PandoraOne

iTunes Match/radio is not only cheaper but also works better than Pandora/Spotify/etc in some key ways.

The biggest thing Apple got right that Pandora couldn't seem to figure out is - I can use my iTunes account on multiple devices, where Pandora doesn't allow my PandoraOne account on multiple devices (it signs you out of one when you sign in on another) which is a huge pain in the tush.

But also - having cloud access to my entire library of music AND a streaming radio for almost half the price of just streaming radio - iTunes wins over Pandora.

The Pandora issue must be unique to you. I have my Pandora account signed in to multiple devices, and I have never had an issue with one signing out when I use the other.

I used iTunes Radio the first day after I installed the iOS 7 GM (last Monday.)
Loved it. I did have Pandora briefly, but it required setting up an account.
I figured I didn't need any more spam email so I deleted it.

Likewise: hello iTunes Radio, goodbye Pandora!

BTW: all my teenagers love iTunes Radio and have made it their go-to app for music in addition to regular iTunes.

It's because the Pandora account doesn't map well to the iTunes account and we pay with iTunes but played with Pandora. Due to that our family is SOL unless I want to pay for a pandora subscription on each device.

iTunes solves that because the app iTunes doesn't care who listens to it.

I was all ready to drop Pandora for iTunes Radio, but the song repetition problem has to be fixed. The same song should not play immediately after it just finished. This happened twice to me. I also had the same song play, then a different, then back to the song before.

I also think I like Pandora's "next song" algorithm a bit better. For instance, my wife has a Michael Buble station in Pandora. Pandora - without any guidance from her - generally plays other songs by Frank Sinatra and the like (which is what I would expect). iTunes Radio seemed to go in the direction of modern adult easy listening. I suppose I could curate iTunes Radio to get to that point, but Pandora just did it by itself.

It is pretty disappointing, because I really wanted to switch. Cheaper + iTunes Match seems like a good deal. But as long as the song repetition issue is in place, I cannot switch.

I have pretty much switched from Pandora to iTunes Radio for the last week (both paid accounts), but there are definitely some bugs in iTunes Radio that need to be ironed out. I had a "John Williams" channel (which is classical soundtracks). Last night, I had interruptions of my classical music by Weird Al, They Might be Giants, and Huey Lewis and the News.... I mean, I like those bands okay, but I was trying to listen to classical soundtrack music (which has been working previously), even had it set to "Hits Only"... weird.

Also, I really wish they had a way to "fine tune it" by rating songs like pandora (thumbs up, down, or similar). I'm sure it will get better...

I plan on keeping Pandora and iTunes Radio side-by-side. I have created many of the same stations in both, and it is fascinating to hear their different interpretations (and licensing, no doubt) of the 80s or Rage Against the Machine. They create similar, but distinct, listening experiences.

I wish I could listen to itunes radio but when I click it on itunes it takes me to albums and I have 11.1 so idk and already re-installed, Anyone else having the same problem?

I happen to think that both on iTunes and the new OS itself no matter if you updated your 4 or 4S or 5 or bought a new 5S or 5C iTunes radio is great for me. I use it all the time when on my desktop working.

Perhaps people who have been listening to pandora for a long time are forgetting that Pandora has a long history of your musical choices?

Every time you "like", "dislike" or skip a song on Pandora you improve your station.

I have found none of the services to be good on day 1, it takes some usage to get a really good station built.

Also - iTunes Match helps because it knows all your own library info...

My workplace lets Spotify through the firewall and I found that at first the stations sucked until I rated a few things.

Like Maps - all this stuff improves as more people use them...

One of the things I really like about iTunes Radio is the quality of the streams! They sound absolutely crystal clear! I do know that some subscriptions give you a lower quality playback unless you become a paying customer, but the fact that iTunes gives it to me for FREE is pretty neat. I am an iTunes Match subscriber so everything's been pretty good. But I do wish that we had more skips than what apple originally provides. But maybe in the future? I see this becoming very useful and want to see where they go with this in 5 years. Hopefully not the way of Ping. Does anyone know the exact quality of the music being streamed? Is it in their purchase quality? I can't even tell! But they must absolutely fix the repitition. I am so sick of hearing "Hold on, Were coming home" three times in a row on the same station. Or switch stations and have it come up within 10 minutes.

Really? I had exactly the opposite comment. The streaming quality is poor. Some Nights by Fun came on yesterday, and the rhythm track was so horribly distorted I had to stop listening. I switched over to my iTunes Match copy of the same song, and the distortion was much, much less. Still not perfect, so I suspect there's something about that song that is difficult to compress, but I haven't been impressed with the quality of iTunes Radio.