Apple is reportedly looking into a dedicated, standlone iTunes Radio app, in an effort to increase awareness and usage of the fledgling streaming radio service aimed at Pandora and others. Introduced as part of iOS 7, iTunes Radio is somewhat hidden within the stock Music app, despite occupying one of the first tab. Sources have told 9tot5Mac’s Mark Gurman that a dedicated iTunes Radio app is being tested in iOS 8. Apple has a vested interest in growing an audience for iTunes Radio, as it would result in greater ad revenue. iTunes Radio is ad-supported, provided users don’t subscribed to iTunes Match.
This wouldn’t be the first time Apple has pulled a feature from the Music app to create a standalone app. Podcasts was once part of the Music app, but has since become its own app. Podcasts however does not ship as part of iOS and requires customers download it from the App Store. Videos had also been part of the iPod app (which has since been renamed to Music). If Apple proceeds with this move to created a dedicated iTunes Radio app, it would be added to the stock apps as part of the iOS 8 upgrade or install.
A standalone app would certainly create more awareness for Apple’s streaming music service. For one, the addition of a new app in iOS 8 would likely cause casual users to explore the application. The design of the app would be no different from what we’ve seen in the Music app, with the app’s icon following a similar hot pink, orange background to a white radio icon.
iTunes Radio provides access to 250 DJ-curated and genre-focused radio stations. Samsung has recently launch MILK, a similar service/app available their line of Galaxy phones. Recent statistics show Pandora remains the leader of the streaming music pack, with a 31% market share, followed by iHeartRadio at 9%. In less than a year, Apple has been able to secure an 8% market share. That’s an impressive number when you consider other services have the advantage of being available on other platforms including Android and Windows Phone.
Have you used iTunes Radio? Would you welcome a dedicated app or does this create more stock app cruft?