When will iTunes Radio launch in the UK?

I get asked when iTunes Radio will launch in the UK a lot. Our best guess at the moment is that the iTunes streaming radio station service will launch in the UK in February or March 2014.

Technically if you open a US iTunes Account you can already use iTunes Radio from the UK.

This will be a big growth area for Apple in 2014 so you can bet they are doing everything they can to get this launched as quickly as possible.

As we hear more we’ll keep you updated.

Update: June 15th 2014: Apple had always said that they would bring iTunes Radio to the UK in early 2014 but here we are in the middle of June and it still hasn’t launched in the UK. As far as I’m concerned ‘early 2014’ officially ended at Easter so Apple are well and truly late with the launch of iTunes Radio in the UK.

It would seem that Apple are struggling to put the necessary rights deals into place to allow the launch to happen outside the US. A couple of weeks ago they announced the acquisition of Beats Audio who operate a very successful alternative to iTunes Radio. Let’s hope this brings the expertise and commercial contacts they need to get a streaming service launched. In the meantime I’m spending more time than ever in the company of Spotify.

This week the pressure on Apple to launch iTunes Radio or Beats Audio streaming service in the UK and Europe has intensified as Amazon have launched their own streaming service which is bundled into Amazon Prime.

We’re watching this space closely and will bring you an update as soon as we hear any more.


How to add Classic FM to iTunes Radio.

I’ve installed Airplay speakers around the house and love to listen to music and the radio as I move around the house.  I’ve created a playlist with all my favourite radio stations but for some reason Classic FM in the UK isn’t included in the list in iTunes. It turns out that it is quite easy to add Classic FM to your iTunes set-up.  First of all you’ll need to create a playlist for your radio stations and then drag a few of your favourites over to the list. You should then end up with a playlist something like this:

How to add Classic FM to iTunes

Now we can add Classic FM… To do this select File>Open Stream and then enter “http://media-ice.musicradio.com/ClassicFMMP3.m3u” for example:

Open Stream - Adding Classic FM to iTunes

 

When you click OK Classic FM should start to play. iTunes has automatically added this to what looks like a Playlist called Internet Songs

Adding Classic FM to iTunes Radio Stations

 

You can now drag ClassicFMMP3 to your Radio Stations playlist so you can easily find it in the future.

Classic FM Successfully added to iTunes

 

In iTunes if you press Cmd i when you have Classic FM selected it will display the station information as shown below…

Station information for Classic FM after adding it to iTunes.

 

It’s good to confirm that the stream we’ve added is at 128kbps and 44.10 Khz – so it’s an almost CD quality audio stream.  You can then click on the Info tab and edit the description so that it looks better in your  iTunes Playlist.

Editing the station name after adding Classic FM to iTunes

 

Job done, you can now enjoy Classic FM from iTunes, listen to it on your Mac or stream it over your Air Play speakers.  I must give credit to Jonathan Rawle’s excellent blog that detailed where to find the stream URL’s for Classic FM.   I had to experiment a bit to make this work reliably.  I found that some of the potential streams work for a while and indeed you can add them to your playlist but later they don’t work when you click on them in the playlist.  The URL I’ve used here is working reliably for me.  Finally for completeness if this doesn’t work for you do check that you have an up to date version of iTunes installed.

Adding Classic FM to iTunes

This blog was written when I was running iTunes 11.0.4.  Let me know how you get on with this.