The service currently highlights 24 “Featured Stations” which vary from Guest DJ’s Katy Perry, Jared Leto, and Diplo to a stream dedicated to The Beatles to International Hits. When launching some of the streams you get imaging explaining the programming or in the case of the “Pepsi Pulse Pop” channel a video commercial for Pepsi.
The hosted channels appear to be operating off a strict playlist that will pick up exactly where you left off. The first song you hear on Katy Perry’s hosted channel will always be her new single “Dark Horse”. In terms of promotion this will maximize exposure to the song if the PR machine hypes ITunes as the only place to hear the premiere of this or other songs in the future.
Some of the playlists appear to be focusing on niche’s that are missing from traditional radio: Traditional Jazz, Video Game soundtracks, Classic Rock Deep Cuts, International Hits, and Chill. There’s multiple variants on CHR through the Top 100, Pepsi Pulse Pop, and even the channel playing nothing but Bruno Mars, Justin Timberlake, and Robin Thicke.
There’s also the ability to create your own channels based on artists or songs that works just like it does on Pandora, IHeartRadio, or any other service that has that feature.
Overall the presentation of the programmed channels feels more along the lines of what you’d hear on SiriusXM as opposed to Pandora. The tie-ins with artists and brands combined with the clout of having the service on every iOS device and any computer with ITunes installed will quickly give Apple the opportunity to become a power player in the digital radio space.
I’m intrigued enough with the service to continue using it over the next few days. Please share your thoughts on whether ITunes Radio shows enough promise for you in the comments section below.