iTunes Radio, Brought to You by McDonald’s, Pepsi, Proctor & Gamble, Nissan, Doritos, Budweiser, Nike, Chili’s, American Express, Taco Bell, BP, Verizon, Chevron, AT&T, Bank of America, Nestle…

And the difference between this and regular broadcast radio is?

According to a recently-published report, appropriately from Advertising Age, iTunes Radio will be launching next month with a heavy slate of major advertisers, with regimented — and very regular — interruptions for non-paying listeners.

Listeners that subscribe to iTunes Match will be spared the advertising, similar to the way Pandora blocks out advertising for its premium, One subscribers.

The current list of confirmed advertisers, according to the report, includes McDonald’s, Nissan, Pepsi, and Procter & Gamble, with pricey, category exclusives worth ‘tens of millions’ of dollars.

Apple has already inked year-long deals worth ‘tens of millions of dollars,’ which means low-rent, ‘click now!’ style ads will probably not be part of this (at least initially).

Alongside a broader push in January, the list of advertisers will be expanded considerably, with targeting towards specific devices and users possible.

And when it comes to ad presence, Apple’s multi-device ubiquity comes in handy.  Throughout the iTunes Radio experience, advertisers will be aggressively splashed across multiple devices, including iPads, iPhones, and laptop screens. Basically, anything that has iTunes or Apple TV associated with it will be game, and Apple will be pushing aggressive, full-screen takeovers in some situations.

Additionally, ads will be timed to happen when listeners are most likely to be paying attention.  For example, right after pushing play or adjusting a playlist.

Here’s a quick rundown of when and where ads will be running (as well as some other details), according to the report:

‘Interstitial’ audio will be injected every 15 minutes.

‘Interstitial’ video ads every hour.

Full-screen, interactive ‘slate’ ads will take over the entire screen.

Inventory will be sold through iAd, Apple’s mobile advertising network.

Throughout, iTunes Radio listeners will always have the option to purchase an MP3 download of a streaming song through the iTunes Store.

18 Responses

  1. Jennifer Lane

    By all means, complain about the amount of $$ coming from streaming services for artists, and then complain when they sell ads as well.

    • GGG

      Yea, I’m confused about this, too.

      So…Paul, you want free, uninterrupted internet radio that pays artists tons of money? How exactly is that going to work out?

    • Dave Clyvis

      I think it’s less a complaint and more of “this is what free, legal, non-interactive streaming will look like”

      Sure, doesn’t have disruptive ads and they’re technically non-interactive, but more people have heard of Apple and so the advertisers are more drawn to them instead.

    • Bob

      I’m not sure what article you two read, but the one I just looked at reported some facts and possibilities; I didn’t get any “complaints” about selling advertising space.

      But, if you want to read more into the article than is actually there, by all means do so — and then realize that you, too, would complain if you were forced to watch a full-screen video ad every hour, even if you were just listening to iTunes Radio in the background while you do work.

      • GGG

        Of course I’d complain. I got annoyed enough at obnoxious 30 second ads cutting into an album listening experience, which is why I eventually signed up for Spotify premium.

        Maybe we are reading too much into it, but based on the headline and the tone of most of Paul’s posts, I don’t think it’s crazy to read it as a little bit of “ugh…ads” going on.

  2. Alice Enders

    In the land of Apple devices, iTunes Radio can only hurt Pandora and Spotify Radio by attracting all the brand advertisers to the latest smart radio service

    • Yves Villeneuve

      He’s got a point. However, if current leadership try to emulate Steve Jobs’ entrepreneurial spirit they have a good chance of repeating stock price success. But then again, Steve Jobs also likely tried to emulate some of the entrepreneurial qualities of his trusted team members… I don’t believe he was a total vacuum.

  3. Visitor

    Paul, the iTunes Store doesn’t offer MP3 files, it has a much better quality format.

    I guess it is difficult to know about things like this when you don’t buy music.

    • Paul Resnikoff

      Right technically AAC w/o DRM.

      (this response brought to you by Evian)

  4. Visitor

    I wonder what guaranteed % of the ad revenue UMG gets to take off the top?

    • Yves Villeneuve

      It also receives minimum airplay since iTunes will want to recoup advances made to it.

      Would like to see a study of iTunes airplay between majors and indie/unsigned music and see if they correspond with true market share based on music sales of the previous 12 months when iTunes Radio was not available.

      Wondering if iTunes threw the baby out with the bath water when it negotiated advances with the majors.

      • GGG

        I would imagine they’ll have something set up that music that sells more in their store would play more. Ie, Imagine Dragons will get more plays than some hyped up indie band that nobody actually buys because the potential to make more money is exponentially greater in theory.

        • Yves Villeneuve


          Billboard reported that the majors had 66% non-distribution market share in 2012. My concern is that the majors may have negotiated advances based on let’s say 70% or 85% market share thereby stealing exposure from indies, especially when the latter were not invited to the negotiation table.

          Did iTunes effectively protect the interests of all participants, including indies/unsigned? Do they have a legal responsibility to protect the indies? Will they paint the indies into a corner to accept reduced airplay market share if their profit model suggests it? Inquiring minds would like to know, though only iTunes can truly answer this.

  5. wallow-T

    re: “Apple will be pushing aggressive, full-screen takeovers in some situations.”

    So much for listening to iRadio at work. I would prefer not explaining to my boss why an ad — and possibly a NSFW ad — is on my screen.

    (Employees at work, last I heard, were one of the largest markets for online radio.)

    • Dave Clyvis

      This is Apple we’re talking about here. If you note the policies governing what gets approved for their App Store, then you don’t need to worry about iTunes Radio ads being “NSFW”

      • Paul Resnikoff

        These are higher-end advertisers, with big budgets playing to big audiences. But it’s going to be interesting to see what the results are – ie, can these advertisers monetize an internet radio service, or at least cover the cost of free listeners?

        Pandora is absolutely huge, they have huge scale. Why can’t they do it effectively?

        • Yves Villeneuve

          Apple consumers are known to be bigger spenders, hence more attractive to advertisers. Apple is focused on increasing revenues while Pandora seems focused on reducing costs. I say Apple has accepted the correct path toward profitability.