| Cult of Mac

Pandora Bumps Up Price On Its Ad-Free Streaming Service

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Photo: Pandora

iTunes Radio still has a long way to go before it catches up with Pandora’s number of subscribers, but in an effort to keep up with increasing royalty costs, Pandora announced this morning that it’s bumping up the monthly subscription price for Pandora One.

Starting in May new subscribers will have to pay $4.99 per month if they want their music stream ad free, which is still cheaper than competitors like Spotify and Rdio (both $9.99 per month).

Apple’s alternative, iTunes Radio is ad-free with $24.99 annual iTunes Match subscription, but Pandora is deciding to just drop the annual subscription option altogether.

Here’s a breakdown of the pricing changes:

All We Love About iOS 7.1 Plus Pono Player Takes On iPod On The CultCast

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This time ’round on The CultCast: all that we love about iOS 7.1; more rumors swirl of a 4.7 and 5.7-inch iPhone 6; an intriguing new iPod challenger gets a ton of buzz; why Flappy Bird might fly back into the App Store; 2014 brings a new MS Office; and iTunes Radio is more popular than you thought…

Guffaw your way through each week’s best Apple stories! Stream or download new and past episodes of The CultCast now on your Mac or iDevice by subscribing on iTunes, or hit play below and let the uproarious good time commence.

And thanks to Lynda.com for sponsoring this episode. Learn at your own pace from expert-taught video tutorials at Lynda.com.

And The Winner Is… Best Internet Radio Streaming Service

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Internet Radio has some fierce competition. Since the launch of iTunes Radio in 2013, it became much harder to single out one service in particular that reigns supreme. Does the popular US service Pandora still have what it takes to surpass all others? Is Slacker Radio more your personal preference?

Either way, following on from last week’s column where we compared on-demand music services, we have taken it upon ourselves to narrow down the competition, including iTunes Radio, Pandora,  Slacker Radio, iHeartRadio, Last.fm and TuneIn Radio; see the table below. We’ve also done some hands-on testing and in-depth research in order to determine just who has the leading edge and what they offer in terms of functionality, catalog size, features and usability.

DoubleTwist’s New Mac App Lets You Rip Songs Straight From iTunes Radio

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DoubleTwist — the company behind the AirSync tool which allows users to wireless sync their iTunes data — has released a new Mac app, letting users rip songs directly from iTunes Radio.

Called AirPlay Recorder, the app basically tricks iTunes into thinking that it’s an AirPlay device, so that it will stream music. It then records that audio for later offline playback.

Apple Launches iTunes Radio Down Under

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Apple announced this morning that its iTunes Radio music service has finally branched out from being available only in the U.S.

Starting today iTunes users in Australia can start using Apple’s free Internet radio service, after iTunes Radio originally debuted in the U.S. last September alongside iOS 7. 

How To Rename iTunes Radio Stations With Ease [iOS Tips]

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iTunes Radio now lets you create stations full of the artists and songs you like, just like Pandora. You can also add artists to the list that you don’t want playing in the station.

When you create a new iTunes Radio station, though, it’s typically named after the first song or artist that you create the station with. That’s not always what you want.

You can rename any station you like with a couple of easy taps.

Jimmy Iovine’s Beats Music Service Counts Down To Tuesday Launch

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Joining the likes of iTunes Radio, Pandora, Spotify, and Rdio, Beats Music — the music subscription service spearheaded by Jimmy Iovine — launches today, 21 January.

Combining human curation from “the best music experts” to algorithm-based automated recommendations, Beats Music will offer access to over 20 million songs via unlimited, ad-free streaming for $9.99 a month on all the usual platforms — including iOS and Mac.