Apparently, owning 858 radio stations and having 90 million users on its free radio streaming app are not enough for iHeartMedia, the creator of iHeartRadio. It wants to get in on the subscription economy too. That’s why the company is launching two new subscription services in January 2017: iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access.
Why? iHeartMedia cites research that shows more than 90 percent of radio listeners listen to FM radio and music collections at different times. Now iHeartRadio will offer both – FM radio and streaming music – so it can reach users wherever and however they want to listen. In addition, iHeartRadio said its new service will help listeners discover and collect music.
“We’re now making it easier than ever for iHeartRadio users to think of music discovery and collecting in a brand new and easy-to-use way,” said Darren Davis, President of iHeartRadio, in a press release.
“For the first time ever, when listeners hear a new or favorite song on the radio they can instantly replay a song and even save it directly to a playlist. We are reimagining radio – with the new technologies and offerings powered by our on-demand options, music discovery, music collecting and the power of community and companionship fostered by live radio and influential and trusted personalities. iHeartRadio is now combining it all for the first time; there’s no other digital music service that can do this,” Davis added.
Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, commented on the new subscription products and how it will impact radio and music listening in the future.
“For decades, radio has remained the number 1 medium to reach consumers, fostering a sense of community and engaging listeners through entertaining on-air personalities and curated music and content,” said Pittman.
“While other streaming services have taken a music collection approach to digital streaming, no one has yet built a service incorporating on demand technology with real live radio– and at a scale that only iHeartMedia can, with its reach of over a quarter of a billion people every month. And only iHeartMedia can leverage the power of radio and bring to market new and innovative ways to extend on-demand capabilities onto the iHeartRadio platform. It’s a monumental shift for the industry as we lead the way into a new era of interactive radio,” Pittman added.
To get the project rolling, iHeartRadio has reached licensing agreements with Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group and Universal Group as well as top independent record labels and distributors. Because they have reached agreements directly with these labels and distributors, iHeartRadio has some control over its costs.
iHeartMedia did not explain the differences between the two services – iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio Plus All Access – nor did it disclose costs, but we expect those details will be revealed in the near future. Because of iHeartMedia’s massive reach (a quarter billion Americans listen to its broadcast radio stations every month), and because these products offer something none of the other streaming music services can, we expect pricing to be competitive rather than discounted.
It seems that every day we hear something new about streaming music subscriptions including who is doing what, which features are being added, what special offers and promos are available, and how streaming music companies are trying to make their business models work. iHeartRadio is putting a different twist on things though.
It isn’t merely offering another streaming music service. It is offering something innovative, interactive and unique to a ready-made audience. It also has a proven business model in place to support the growth of new products. This is very exciting news. We are eager to learn more about the products and to see how iHeartRadio launches them to make the most of this opportunity.