updated 06:33 pm EDT, Mon May 12, 2014
Latest in a series of album debuts attracting listeners, press
Apple's iTunes Radio continues to attract publicity and listeners through a string of recent streaming "listening party" album debuts, with the latest being Coldplay offering their latest album, Ghost Stories, as a free stream on the service. The new album, which debuts May 19, joins a long list of recent debuts, including albums by The Black Keys, Pharrell, Eminem and Beyonce.
The effort to attract top-flight artists to preview their latest albums on iTunes has helped to differentiate the service from its nearest rivals. The ad-supported service is already the third most-popular streaming radio station in the US, behind industry veteran Pandora and ClearChannel's corporate release that focuses mostly on conventional radio streaming, IHeartRadio. While Spotify has also been in the press a lot of late, it doesn't offer any kind of early-access album debuts.
The Coldplay album is not yet available for streaming in all parts of the US, as the album appears to be rolling out gradually to listeners (though it is accessible through the iTunes main page, even if it doesn't turn up on a user's iTunes Radio). The service is currently only available to US and Australian iTunes customers, though it can be heard worldwide with a US- or Australia-based Apple ID. Also still available under iTunes Radio's list of preset stations are "First Play" albums from The Black Keys, Chromeo and Michael W. Smith.
In addition hearing the album free, buyers can pre-order the record for $10. The pre-order includes instant access to the first three singles, "Magic," "Midnight," and "A Sky Full of Stars." The day before the album's debut, May 18, Coldplay will feature in a live network music special on NBC.