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Six Colors

by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

iTunes Match subscribers lose free Radio stations

Note: This story has not been updated for several years.

I didn’t spend a whole lot of time listening to Apple’s free iTunes Radio stations–with the exception of last December’s Star Wars station, obviously–but it was nice to know they were there. Alas, as mentioned in the middle of last month, the free, ad-supported stations are now gone, consigning iTunes Radio to a subscription-only life as part of Apple Music.

But the real losers are iTunes Match subscribers, like me. Prior to Apple Music, Match subscribers got access to those radio stations–sans ads–as part of their $25-per-year subscription plan. But that hasn’t continued in the new iTunes Radio era either.

Despite my lack of use, it is a bummer. I don’t think it signifies the death of iTunes Match by any means–why would the company up the limit on number of matched songs just two months ago only to kill the service off? But it does certainly seem like yet another move to get Match subscribers to switch to Apple Music.

At the moment, it hasn’t had that effect on me. I’m still using iTunes Match, which to me has a far better bang-to-buck ratio, and supplementing it with Spotify’s free tier. Sadly, the removal of those radio stations has not meant the departure of the Radio tab in iOS’s Music app–mostly because Beats 1 is still available for free to everyone. (Joy.)

How about it, Match subscribers? This nudging you towards Apple Music, or not moving the needle much?

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Mastodon at or reach him by email at His latest novel, the supernatural detective story All Souls Lost, is now available for pre-order.]

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