How to tune iTunes Radio to your taste and discover new music

It’s been a week since iTunes Radio was released in Australia and we’ve had a chance to take a closer look at the service and its many features and benefits.

Apple has looked to Australia as the first country after the US to have its own iTunes Radio service.

iTunes Radio can be enjoyed on the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and any computer – Mac or PC – running the latest version of iTunes.

Simply open the Music app on your iOS device or iTunes on your computer and you’ll see a new Radio icon.

And the experience has not simply been a case of transplanting the US version here in Australia but rather it has been curated and personalised to appeal to Australian music lovers.

There is obviously Australian music at the forefront but it’s mixed in with both established and emerging international artists as well. There are more than 37 million songs in the iTunes catalogue.

It is a free service that is supported by the occasional 15-30 second ad between songs but iTunes Match subscribers can enjoy the service ad-free.

The main goal behind iTunes Radio is music discovery and allowing users to listen to music they may not have usually heard.

Apple’s service takes a look at the music you’ve been listening to and music you’ve purchased and serves up a selection of songs that will suit your tastes.

And like a regular radio station there are a few featured stations that will appeal to a wide range of listeners including Hot Today, Hot Alternative, iTunes Hits 80s, 90s and Now, Workout, Retro and even a Classical Showcase.

At the moment there’s also station being guest hosted by popular group Paramore that isn’t about just their music but includes their favourite tracks and artists that inspired and influenced them.

But it doesn’t just stop there. You can create your own station based on your own music tastes and genres. And these stations and preferences are carried across all of your devices using the same iTunes account.

When you click on the + button to create a new station you can either chose a genre or enter the name of an artist or song to get you started.

If you do choose a genre there are sometimes sub-genres to help you hone the station even further.

For example, you may want to create jazz station. If you click on jazz you’ll be presented with other choices like Jazz Radio, Latin Jazz, Smooth Jazz and Vocal Jazz.

And beside each one is a play button so you can get a sample of each. It plays five second snippets of a selection of songs to give you a feel of what to expect.

Same thing goes for Pop which has sub-genres of Pop Radio, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s, Dance Pop and Vocal.

And once you made your selections you can fine-tune the station even further.

Within the newly created station you can choose to play just hits, a variety of hits and songs you may not have heard before or purely songs for discovery.

Each song that is played can also be rated. A small star near the play/pause and skip button is how listeners can decide if they want to play more songs like this or never play this song.

Listeners also have the choice of adding songs to their iTunes Wishlist.

At any time it possible to purchase the song with one click. The price is displayed in the top right corner of the play window.

It easy to look back at the songs you’ve heard and either buy them, play more like this, create a new station based on that artist or a new station from that song.

When listening to your music there is skip button to move to the next but you are only allowed six skips per hour on each station.

By default the switch to allow explicit songs is set to off and can be also be controlled through the parental controls of any iOS device.

It is also possible to stream iTunes Music wirelessly using Airplay to compatible speakers or to Apple TV.

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