Ad-supported iTunes Radio stations are no more. Here's everything you need to know about the switch.
When did Apple get rid of ad-supported iTunes Radio stations?
For one, Apple is no longer producing ads in-house with its iAd program — though it's never been clear if the iTunes Radio station ads were sold through iAd, it's a likely bet that Apple wanted to clear the deck of its advertising-related services.
iTunes Radio is also the remnant of Apple's pre-Beats music subscription service; by ditching the ad-supported stations, the company can now rebrand all its stations under the "Apple Music" banner.
So the iTunes Radio stations are sticking around, with a different name?
Yep, and no ads. What you knew as "iTunes Radio" have become "Apple Music radio stations," all living under the Radio tab of the Music app. If you're an Apple Music subscriber, you can still create new radio stations based off artists and albums, and listen to any of the pre-built stations, ad-free.
What about iTunes Match users?
As part of Apple's iTunes Match program, you can store DRM-free copies of your music in iCloud. iTunes Match also used to provide its users with ad-free versions of the iTunes Radio stations — but this perk has gone the way of the dodo into extinction.
While current Match subscribers were able to listen to ad-supported radio until Apple took it offline on Friday, the company hasn't advertised ad-free radio as part of its iTunes Match subscription page in some time now; I wouldn't be surprised if new subscribers never knew it was even a (hidden) benefit.
But I hate subscriptions! What if I still want to listen to ad-supported radio?
Just because Apple's decided to ditch its ad-supported radio doesn't mean there aren't other options out there for you. You can still stream ad-supported music via Pandora, and Spotify offers a whole ad-supported tier of its music subscription service. And if you truly want to listen to radio, you can always stream from any of the myriad Internet radio stations.
Anything we missed that you want to know about the switch? Drop it in the comments and we'll try and help you get sorted.