iHeartRadio has launched two new subscription options as it looks to grow its online business as a complement to its existing dominance of the U.S. radio scene.
iHeart remains a major force in the music industry thanks to its 850 radio stations. The company, formerly known as Clear Channel Communications, has been pushing into the digital realm, counting around 90 million users for its radio streaming app.
Now, the company is entering into uncharted waters. iHeart for years relied on playing music for free over the radio and making money off advertisements in between.
The streaming services mean that iHeart is now looking to charge customers to listen to music, and kick back a portion to the music industry just like Spotify, Pandora and just about every other operation.
For decades radio has remained the No. 1 medium to reach consumers, fostering a sense of community and engaging listeners through entertaining on-air personalities and curated music and content, said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, in a press release. “Whileother 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.”
The first option iHeartRadio Plus is meant to combine the company’s existing online radio offering with elements of on-demand listening. The company said it hopes that people who already have a subscription will buy this as an add-on.
The second iHeartRadio All Access is a full-on music subscription service akin to Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and the growing raft of smaller competitors.
The services won’t debut until January 2017, and iHeart declined to talk about how much the services would cost.
Once maligned, streaming subscription services have become the saviors of the music world, helping to pull the industry out of a steep decline.