Internet Radio Stations Are Demoted in the Post-iTunes World

I’ve been writing lately about changes to iTunes, and how the apps that replace iTunes are missing certain features that were in the app for a long time. I discussed the demise of the column browser, which dates back to iTunes 1.0, and which has always been one of the best ways to navigate a large library. I’ve also mentioned other changes, such as in this article, where I pointed out that Songs view no longer allows you to display album artwork. Again, this was a useful navigational feature that allowed you to scan a list of music and see artwork to identify it more easily.

Another feature that dates back to version 1.0 and that is going away is internet radio. These are radio stations that stream and that you can listen to from the Library section in the iTunes sidebar.

Internet radio

There are about twenty genres of internet radio stations, and you can browse the list and find a wide range of eclectic styles of music, news and talk radio, and more. iTunes currently lists about 4,000 such stations.

You’ll be able to launch a specific internet radio station in the new Music app by choosing File > Open Stream URL, but you won’t have the library to search for internet radio stations any more. I assume that these weren’t widely used – admit it, most of you didn’t even know that this existed – and all these stations stream from their websites anyway, so you can still listen to them, just in a different way.

Learn more about the new media apps that replace iTunes in macOS Catalina in my new book, Take Control of macOS Media Apps.

10 thoughts on “Internet Radio Stations Are Demoted in the Post-iTunes World

  1. Since one can apparently still play internet radio in the new Music app, if you had a playlist of selected say Blues radio stations made from the current iTunes selections, would this playlist and the associated URLs transfer over to the new Music app?

    • This is perhaps possible. I created a playlist with iTunes 12 for a few radio stations, exported it, then imported it to the Music app. I was able to play all of them. So if you have an existing playlist, then it should still be in your library when you upgrade.

  2. For at least a year, it has not been possible to add, update, nor even remove an existing station from that listing. I had to change servers and Apple insisted that they keep the URL to the old server. My station is still a dead listing a year later. Yep, these little indie stations that have to pay up the nose in royalties to exist in the U.S. are just too much of a threat to the multi-billion dollar Apple music empire. Funny, my father-in-law also only used this part of iTunes.

  3. So far all I’ve read about are detriments to the iTunes format, to include deletion of artwork in the songs pane and making it trickier to navigate internet radio stations. I may not upgrade to Catalina from Mojave, at least not until Apple puts its big boy pants on and makes the new Music app more consumer friendly. It was bad enough that iTunes became bloated and trickier to navigate over the years as it was. Further, I’ve been one of those who plays several internet radio stations while I work out of my house. Apple—get it right the first time and you won’t get hate mail from devoted Mac fans like myself.

  4. Just an update note: It is quite possible to create playlists for favourite genres of radio stations. You can select all the listings in say Blues for example and drag-and-drop to a Blues playlist where you can edit it down to your favourites. That will ensure the playlist is imported to the new Music app in Catalina, hopefully. In doing this, for you Kirk, I discovered two (!) Dylan radio stations in Classic Rock. I have sent a polite request to Apple to keep Internet Radio in the new Music app, likely to fall on deaf ears.

  5. Internet URL tracks can be added to a playlist. However, in my experience, they sometimes dissipate after a few months; that is, the URL becomes invalid; don’t know why it is. In any case, I have kept a playlist of favorite radio stations like that for many years.

    The user could never add or remove items from the radio station list. This was handled by Apple, and Stations had to petition them to be included.

  6. Just wanting to make sure I won’t lose my internet radio after updating to Catalina … there seem to be two methods proposed here. Kirk “exported” a playlist made of radio stations. Which format should I export to? The export command offers text, unicode text, XML, and a couple of others I’ve never heard of. Is XML the way to go or does it even matter?

    John M says just creating the playlist will ensure that it’s imported into the new Music app in Catalina … he doesn’t mention exporting the playlist first. Has this been confirmed to work?

  7. Thanks. Kudos to Kirk and John M for identifying the problem and a workaround — but very disturbing that Apple doesn’t even warn about this, let alone provide the solution.

    It seems odd that they would drop internet radio from the Mac Music app just as they’re adding it to Siri on HomePod. So far, Mojave Siri has never heard of any of the stations that my HomePod Siri can now play. I wonder if this capability will be added — has anyone checked if it’s there with Catalina Siri? (I have a few other issues to deal with before I dare upgrade.)

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