Eminem's upcoming album, The Marshall Mathers LP2, is streaming on iTunes Radio ahead of its proper release, as Apple looks to further promote its new streaming music service. Unlike most previous iTunes album streams, streaming on iTunes Radio actually allows listeners to skip through tracks and to see how far along they are in a given song — previously, the entire album was displayed as one large chunk, making this new stream much easier to navigate through. Marshall Mathers debuted yesterday, making iTunes Radio an exclusive home to the album until its proper release on Tuesday.
This isn't the first time that iTunes Radio has debuted new music — that was Justin Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience — 2 of 2 in late September — but it suggests that Apple is fully moving its pre-release streams out of the iTunes Store and into iTunes Radio. The change may seem to be a minor issue of semantics, but it could actually make a big difference for Apple and record labels: it doesn't simply promote iTunes Radio, it means that every single track plays with a link to purchase the song on iTunes right beside it. That's a feature that most pre-release music streams don't offer, since they often appear on websites like NPR. As for how well Eminem's new LP will attract listeners, the Marshall Mathers name might carry a certain cachet, but early reviews have been distinctly mixed so far.