It's Official -- iHeartMedia Launches Two Paid Streaming Services
September 23, 2016 at 6:13 AM (PT)
As ALL ACCESS tipped you TUESDAY (NET NEWS 9/20), iHEARTMEDIA will launch two new on-demand subscription services -- iHEARTRADIO PLUS and iHEARTRADIO ALL ACCESS -- set to debut in JANUARY 2017. The company notes, "Research shows that more than 90% of listeners say they listen to both FM radio and music collections, but at different times, for different reasons; this marks the first time ever that on-demand functionality will be used to improve the radio experience, unlike current services which can only approach on-demand through a music collection offering."
Because 73% of consumers, which include users of on-demand music services, continually cite radio as their primary source of music discovery, iHEARTRADIO’s new on-demand offerings will allow listeners to bridge the divide between music discovery and music collecting by incorporating true interactivity into the radio listening experience through a variety of new features.
“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 iHEARTRADIO Pres. DARREN DAVIS. “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.”
“For decades radio has remained the #1 medium to reach consumers, fostering a sense of community and engaging listeners through entertaining on-air personalities and curated music and content,” said iHEARTMEDIA Chairman/CEO BOB 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.”
Five Years In The Making
In an interview with ALL ACCESS, iHEARTRADIO Pres. DARREN DAVIS notes that the subscription streaming concept had been developed over a period of years. "The quick answer is that we have always been considering it," he said. "The minute we launched iHEARTRADIO five years ago, we were looking into enhancements to make things better. Why launch it now? Two reasons: One, it has gotten to the point in AMERICA that even though the vast majority of people don’t subscribe to a music service, there's at least a general awareness of it and on-demand access. Two, we've now built the technology to do this the right way, to bring on-demand functionality to the mass market in an easy-to-use way.
"The most important thing here is that we're bringing the live radio experience to an on-demand functionality," DAVIS continued. "It's really designed to bridge the gap between music discovery and music collection. That has always been a disjointed broken experience. You go back to when you were a kid and heard a great song on the radio and wanted it. You'd scribble down the song title on a notepad, then take that to a record store to buy it. The next time, you'd jot something down on paper the CD you wanted to buy. Now you'd have to fumble around on your phone because it can be difficult to download a song. It has never been a quick, clean, easy experience. We set out to solve that problem -- and that’s what we did by bringing an on-demand feature function to the iHEARTRADIO app. For the first time ever, listeners can heard a brand new song -- or even favorite old song -- and have the ability to instantly replay that song to sing along, or save it right from the radio and put it directly on your playlist. That has never been done before."
Two Choices, Two Price Tiers
The two new iHEARTRADIO on-demand services are iHEARTRADIO PLUS, which will be focused on the on-demand radio experience, and iHEARTRADIO ALL ACCESS, which will go beyond iHEARTRADIO PLUS to include a full on-demand music collection experience – but one still tied directly to radio.
The company boasts that because its new on-demand service "is the only one using on-demand functionality to make radio even better, instead of simply duplicating the on-demand music collection experience, this new service continues iHEARTRADIO’s important mission of partnering with artists and the music industry -- presenting more opportunities to further grow revenue for them."
The price point for the two services are still under consideration, though DAVIS noted that the ALL ACCESS tier will be priced higher than iHEARTRADIO PLUS. "We're researching all price points to see all what people will pay for various features and functionality, but we don’t see us getting into a price war with SPOTIFY or anybody else," he said. "That misses the point; what we built here is not the ability to offer on-demand cheaper than anybody else. This is truly something different. For example, we've shown our product demos to music industry people and they immediately went, 'Hallelujah, someone has figured out how to put it out all together.' This is not what SPOTIFY offers or what PANDORA is talking about. We're launching something that nobody else can combine -- three big things ... music discovery, music collecting and the companionship live radio gives you. Radio is your friend, where people like ELVIS DURAN and BOBBY BONES can tell you about the hottest new movies, the greatest restaurants in town and new music to download."
DAVIS will expand on that in an upcoming POWER PLAYER interview. Stay tuned.
Check out a video of the new services posted on the iHEARTRADIO blog here.