Apple has contacted users to inform them that the free, ad-supported version of iTunes Radio will be eliminated at the end of the month.
iTunes Radio will no only be available with an Apple Music subscription, though Beats 1 radio will still be available for free. It’s not clear whether iTunes Match subscribers will still have access to free iTunes Radio; this was one of the perks of using iTunes Match in the past.
It’s worth noting that record labels get a mere pittance from iTunes Radio plays, so eliminating the ad-supported radio won’t bother them very much.
This change makes sense, since Apple is striving to eliminate all types of free streaming, unlike other services such as Spotify. It’s obvious that people will listen to music for free if they can, and Apple wants to increase the number of paying subscribers to Apple Music. But since most people simply don’t want to pay for music, it will be interesting to see if those who were regular iTunes Radio listeners gravitate toward Spotify or another service for their music.