Apple’s iTunes Radio platform will be utilised to make listeners aware of the exclusive pre-release streams of albums that arrive on iTunes before they go on sale.
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, iTunes boss Eddy Cue said the company will ‘leverage’ albums by featuring them on iTunes Radio to improve visibility for those not visiting the iTunes Store on a regular basis.
He said: “For example there’s a Justin Timberlake album that’s on iTunes Radio for the first time, so the first time we ever premiered an album on there. We certainly knew we would leverage it for iTunes Radio but the primary key to iTunes Radio was to create it custom for you.
“It’s a huge improvement to do it on iTunes Radio because you don’t go to a store a lot. Hopefully lots of people will be listening to iTunes Radio a lot; from a discovery perspective it’s significantly better.
“I think when you go to a store and you go to the Justin Timberlake page and stream it from there, that’s great but that means you went to the store. iTunes Radio lets you discover it without you having to think about it.”
The company has enjoyed success with pre-release streams on iTunes, with listening figures for albums like Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories converting well into purchases once the album goes on sale, and integration within iTunes Radio will simply make these streams more visible.
Apple’s Spotify and Pandora rival launched last month with the arrival of iTunes 11.1 and iOS 7 for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, but is still yet to launch in the UK.
The platform allows users to create custom radio stations based on their favourite artists, songs and genres. The free version is funded by occasional audio ads, while users are only allowed six song skips per channel per hour.
If users wish to listen to any of the songs in full, on demand, then they’ll need to purchase them from the iTunes Store, or settle for 90-second previews. Listeners are also able to add songs to an iTunes wishlist or start a new channel at any time based on the song playing at that time.
Apple is offering more open access to the service for iTunes Match subscribers meaning no advertisements.