The rumors have officially been confirmed: Effective January 2017, iHeartMedia will offer two new subscription streaming services, the company announced at its iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.
The services’ predecessor, iHeartRadio, also debuted at the event in 2011. iHeartRadio recently announced it has more than 90 million registered users.
Widely viewed as the company’s attempt to more directly compete with fellow streamers Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify, iHeartMedia described its efforts as an attempt “bring on-demand functionality to live radio, bridging the gap between radio discovery and curation,” according to a release.
The company is seeking to woo listeners who do not yet subscribe to any paid streaming services by emphasizing that the services offer both live radio, interactivity, community and on-demand listening in a unique way. The release also said that 84 percent of iHeartRadio users do not subscribe to an on-demand streaming service.
The two new services are iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access. According to the company, “iHeartRadio Plus is designed to serve as an addition to other on demand services, not as a replacement.” On the other hand, All Access is intended to “offer the full on demand music collection experience – but one still tied directly to radio” in which users can “instantly replay a song, save it directly to a playlist and also get unlimited skips.”
The release also emphasized new music discovery, directly pitting the app against Spotify, which has touted the popularity of its new customized “New Release Radar” feature.
“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,” said iHeartMedia CEO Bob Pittman. “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.”
According to the iHeartMedia blog, the new services were developed with features inspired directly by iHeartRadio user feedback.
Also important, the company characterized it as a way for the multiplatform iHeartMedia to share additional revenue generation opportunities with the music industry. iHeartRadio has license agreements with Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group and Universal Music Group, as well as agreements with independent record labels and distributors.
Pricing was not disclosed in the announcement.