The streaming radio race is still overwhelmingly dominated by Pandora in the U.S., but that’s not necessarily going to be the case forever: In a recent survey of streaming music users, iTunes Radio had climbed to third place, surpassing Spotify with 8 percent of respondents to the Statista study saying they’d used it in the past month. Apple has plans to potentially skyrocket its usage stats, however, by breaking out iTunes Radio into its own app in iOS 8, according to a report by 9to5Mac.
The report says that this is still in the experimental stage and not necessarily a sure bet for inclusion in iOS 8, but it makes a lot of sense to break out iTunes Radio on its own. The service currently resides inside the Music app on iOS devices, as a single tab among many. It essentially functions as a completely separate app within that software as it stands, so breaking it out shouldn’t be difficult. The separate app would be pre-installed on iOS 8 devices, which would give it a huge advantage over competing services, along with the fact that it’s already free (though ad-supported).
As 9to5Mac notes, this wouldn’t be the first time Apple has taken what was inside the Music app and made it into its own separate thing. Videos was introduced in iOS 6, and Podcasts and iTunes U all contain content that was originally housed in Music. The only potential downside to doing this as a standalone app would be potentially overwhelming users with an abundance of pre-loaded software with similar functionality, but I think it’s likely that the advantages (more users, better positioning for advertisers) outweigh that potential negative.