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Apple’s radio debut will feel a lot like… radio

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Apple’s(s aapl) long-awaited streaming music service, iTunes Radio, will finally arrive in September, and it will come with a feature familiar to listeners of regular old FM: frequent ads from car and fast food companies.

According to AdAge, Apple has lined up 12 original sponsors which will interrupt the music every 15 minutes with an audio ad, and once an hour with a video ad. The sponsors, which include McDonald’s(s mcd), Nissan and Pepsi(s pep), will have exclusive rights to their respective category during the first year.

Like Pandora(s p), iTunes Radio listeners will not be able to play a song on demand, but will instead hear programmed playlists of Apple’s choosing. Overall, then, some could find that the ads and the lack of choice will make the Apple radio experience feel less like the digital future — and more like old-school FM (minus the chattering DJs).

There is, however, an ad-free option that will be available to anyone who buys the company’s cloud-music storage service; as Apple blogger John Gruber notes, “Best reason yet to sign up for iTunes Match.”

The radio product should also give a boost to Apple’s advertising ambitions. As AdAge notes, the new audio and video inventory will make the company’s iAd network more attractive. Recall that the network has been losing ground in mobile advertising to the likes of Facebook(s fb) but that, as AdExchanger reported, Apple could still emerge as an “advertising giant.”

Apple announced earlier this summer that iTunes Radio would arrive as part of iOS 7; it will also work with Apple TV, Windows and OS X.

4 Responses to “Apple’s radio debut will feel a lot like… radio”

  1. It might ‘feel’ like radio, but ‘look’ like TV….MTV in it’s early days! Plus the ability to be mobile and for one to create their own music TV channels! Music needs no translation and is easily appreciated worldwide. MTV was the largest worldwide TV network when it was new. Apple iTunes Radio TV will ‘feel’ new again. $AAPL Re-creates $VIA Viacom’s initial MTV channel with VEVO iTunes radio & iTV. Viacom was able to use MTV’s worldwide viewership to help build out Viacom to a $37 billion market cap. In addition, Apple’s ‘buy it now’ from iTunes will be huge. This little noticed feature will serve to spike iTunes music sales.

  2. Valentine North

    My age must be showing, but I really don’t care much about creating my own playlists anymore. Right now, I have a dozen radio stations playlists saved instead of mp3s.
    Most advertise very little or not at all, and the subscription ones are usually completely devoid of ads (I drop them if they aren’t).
    One funny thing about subscription services though. A lot of them promise improved quality, which doesn’t always happen, though they do artificially increase the bitrate. for instance, is one of those crooks.