Apple aims for slice of Australia's streaming market with iTunes radio

By Rosie Baker | 13 February 2014

McDonald’s, Harvey Norman and American Express are the first advertisers on Apple's iTunes Radio in Australia. Will it blow Pandora, Spotify, Mogg and the rest out of the water?

The music streaming market in Australia is already one of the most competitive in the world. Now Apple wants a bite of it with iTunes radio.

The service launches this week with a free ad-funded model and a $34.99 monthly annual subscription service called Match. In the US, most users have adopted the free version.

It will give users access to hundreds of online radio stations through existing iTunes accounts. Radio stations include an INXS stream, and a stream of tracks trending on Twitter, genres curated by iTunes, and local artists.

Apple says the more it is used, the more personalised music suggestions iTunes will make for each user. In future it will offer live streams from events including the London iTunes Festival and exclusive music releases.

Apple is also rolling out its iAd advertising platform in Australia. McDonald's, PepsiCo, Harvey Norman and American Express are among the first advertisers.

The music streaming landscape in Australia is highly competitive. Services from Rdio, Spotify, Pandora, Telstra, iHeartRadio, Songl are among those competing for share of Australian ear.

Pandora is ramping up ad sales and rolling out advertising options to grow its revenue streams after introducing an ad-funded model late last year. It has 1.3 million app downloads in Australia, but has not stated how many of those are active users.

Telstra is expected to launch its Beats service, brainchild of Dr. Dre, in early Q2. It is thought the MOG platform will continue to run for some time before Beats becomes the telco's defacto streaming service.

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