Apple is doing away with its free, ad-supported iTunes Radio music service on January 29. If anyone wants to listen to Apple-owned online radio stations for free, Beats 1 will be their only choice. Otherwise, they’ll have to pay up for an Apple Music subscription.
An email from Apple to iTunes Radio listeners in the U.S. and Australia (the only non-U.S. country in which the music service launched) confirms the announcement, according to 9to5Mac. Apple Music, which costs $9.99 per month, now offers the only way to access streaming radio stations that curate music in specific genres or themes.
The decision shouldn’t come as a surprise: Shuttering the free iTunes Radio, which launched in 2013, will funnel at least a fraction of its listeners to Apple’s paid music platform, which recently surpassed 10 million users in its race and battle with Spotify. It also makes sense in light of Apple’s recent announcement that its iAd network will shut down on June 30.
The field of free, ad-supported online radio providers is thnning. Rdio shut down on December 22, about a month after a $75 million deal involving the sale of key parts of its business to Pandora.
Users who don’t want to listen to Beats 1 or pay for Apple Music have other options, of course — just not many of them.