iHeartMedia has confirmed yesterday's reports that it will launch to new streaming music services early next year. The broadcast radio giant joins a crowded sector, but could help drive mainstream adoption of streaming music.
iHeartMedia will launch two new subscription services in January, iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access, the broadcast and online radio company announced Friday.
To launch the new services, iHeartRadio has reached licensing agreements with Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group and Universal Music Group, and indie labels and distributors including The Orchard, Entertainment One, INgrooves, DashGo, Naxos and CD Baby.
Details are slim, but iHeartRadio Plus is being billed as "an addition to other on demand services, not as a replacement" enhancing the radio listening experience "for both new on demand subscribers and those who currently subscribe to other, traditional on demand music collection service."
iHeartRadio All Access seems more straightforward - paid on demand music streaming. But it's still somehow, iHeart insists, "tied directly to radio."
Presumably, links to live radio streams will be included within both services. But CEO and Chairman Bob Pitman shed no additional light on exactly how they'll be tied to radio expect to say: “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.”
Huge Reach = Happy Labels
85% of iHeartRadio 70 million registered users do not yet subscribe to a streaming music service. Add tens of millions more who listen via its 800 broadcast stations, and you have a huge opportunity to drive streaming music adoption.
All of this and the added competition makes the major labels very happy. “Universal Music Group is pleased to welcome a new addition to the growing and dynamic music subscription space with iHeart’s launch of interactive services,” said Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group. Steve Cooper, CEO of Warner Music Group said. “iHeart’s expertise and reach in radio programming and curation, combined with the full power of streaming technology, is a compelling prospect. These new services will open up the choice of experiences that iHeart offers music fans, while providing our artists and songwriters with a wider range of commercial and marketing opportunities.”