Update: As expected, iTunes Radio is now officially dead. The free, ad-supported streaming option has been wrapped up into the subscription-based Apple Music. The only free listening option available in the Apple-verse now is Beats 1 radio.
Apple is going full-boar on getting iTunes Radio hold-outs to sign up: anyone who tries to access the iOS Music app or iTunes on their computer will be greeted with a message directing them to join Apple Music. iTunes Match subscribers also need to join Apple Music in order to access to their stations.
Original article below...
Bad news if you've been enjoying Apple's iTunes Radio stations free of charge: the service is heading behind the subscription paywall to join the rest of the goodies that make up Apple Music.
"We are making Beats 1 the premier free broadcast from Apple and phasing out the ad-supported stations at the end of January," an Apple spokesperson told Buzzfeed. Users have also been alerted via email.
That means Beats 1 will be left as the only free music product from Apple. If you want auto-generated playlists or indeed human curated ones, you'll need to pay your US$9.99/£9.99/AU$11.99 a month. The radio element is included in the three-month trial of Apple Music.
The day the music cost more
iTunes Radio launched in 2013 with iOS 7 in the United States and Australia, offering a shuffled music mix of tracks, with ads, in the style of Pandora and other similar services.
Most other streaming subscription services, including Google Play Music and Spotify, have similar passive listening options where you can start from a favourite track or artist and then get a never-ending playlist from it.
Users are limited to how many songs can be skipped but the the big benefit of iTunes Radio was its price - nothing at all. Whether this is a result of a decision at Apple or a push by the record label for more royalties isn't clear.
- Read our comprehensive Apple Music review