Apple has brought its iTunes Festival to the US for the first time, announcing that it will be streaming concerts across five nights at SXSW 2014 in March. Having run for several years as the iTunes Festival in London, the new US push for the free entertainment offer will be streamed to iTunes on PC and Mac, as well as to iOS devices like iPhone and iPad, and to the Apple TV.
As rumors have suggested, Apple is outing their own music discovery platform, and they're calling it iTunes Radio. The new feature will be built right into the company's existing Music app on iOS, so users who take advantage of the app won't have to switch to another app to use the new iTunes Radio.
Apple is all about the music today, with the new 16GB iPod touch, word of 100m iPod touch selling since 2007, and now details of the upcoming iTunes Festival 2013. First held in 2007, the 2013 show marks the festival's seventh outing, with acts including Justin Timberlake and Jack Johnson set to appear, while the tickets are handed out as iTunes prizes.
Apple TV, the company's wireless set-top box, has been updated so as to function without the need for a Mac, opening up the device to the thousands of potential users yet to invest (or unable to afford) one of Apple's computers. While iTunes content can be streamed direct to the Apple TV and enjoyed through a connected widescreen TV, owners now have the option to browse, research and buy TV shows, music and titles from the new movie rentals service direct from the set-top box itself.
So you saw Beats Music earlier this year and were impressed, but not enough to pay the monthly fee imposed until now? It may be that Apple has seen what Beats Music (now owned by Apple) is all about and wants to cut the price per month. The new pricing - in a pitch heard thirdhand from Apple - is being suggested at $5 USD. That price might never be met. What’s far more likely is that Apple will cut the price, but that music labels they’re working with will still want at least $7 or $8 USD from end users like you.
Now that Apple has officially welcomed (most of) the Beats team to Cupertino, we should start hearing how they’ll incorporate who they’re keeping into the mix. The latest report hints that Beats Music CEO Ian Rogers will take over iTunes Radio for Apple. He will still run Beats Music, though, suggesting a merger of the services is incoming.
Apple TV has gained a jolt of new content this morning, with an update for the set-top box bringing four new sources including FOX NOW. Joining the ranks of Netflix, Hulu Plus, and of course Apple's own iTunes content, the content additions include CNBC for both real-time news streaming and on-demand clips, though you'll need to have a cable or satellite subscription in order to sign in.
Apple has announced its eighth iTunes Festival, its month-long music festival that will see artists like Pharrell Williams, Blondie, and Calvin Harris perform at London's Roundhouse venue come September. The concerts - which will see more than sixty acts take to the stage through the course of the month - will be attended by ticket winners, though Apple will also be streaming them for those who can't make it in person.
Apple has updated iTunes today, bringing the software to version 11.3. The goal this time is to get you consuming more media. How do we know that? The extensive list of tweaks to media playback, and a synchronized update to Apple TV.