The iTunes Radio song count bests Pandora 27 to 1, which means Apple's service has all those songs that Addicott has not bothered to include on Pandora.
But what makes iTunes Radio a streaming music luxury experience is the simple user interface and the option for users to adjust the preset stations.
Users with Apple IDs and iTunes passwords are ready to go. Hit the “New Station” icon and iTunes Radio takes the listener to 30 music categories, each of which includes at least 10 subcategories. “Classic Alternative” is not strictly a Smiths-Cure-New Order proposition: the subcategories include but are not limited to Britpop, classic punk, Goth, New Romantic and shoegaze. Then, after logging into one of those choices, the user can tune a station to be narrowly focused on “hits,” add some “variety” or go into full “discovery” mode, in which the playlist can get fairly deep into the hardly known and rarely heard levels of that era.
The variety is there (“Regional Mexicano,” anyone? There's plenty of Duranguense, Norteno and Tejano for the next quinceañera celebration) and the sound quality is equal to or better than its competitors, so it's not just an earbud experience. What will make iTunes Radio an important part of my streaming diet is the clean operation. Despite the obvious joys of Spotify, its user interface is fairly complicated for on-the-go smartphone use, but iTunes Radio is just as easy on the phone as it is on the laptop or the iPad.
Much like iTunes simplified the music download process a decade ago, iTunes Radio finally makes streaming music about as easy as turning on a radio.