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iHeartRadio Debuts Its Two Paid Subscription Tiers

iHeartMedia Dan Mason CBS Radio Senior AdvisoriHeartRadio’s previously announced paid subscription services have launched today in beta mode.

One major change from the original announcement is that the $9.99 per-month iHeartRadio All Access will be co-branded as “powered by Napster” as Napster has provided the back-end software for on-demand music delivery, customer billing, data and analytics and rights holders’ payments.

Currently available only on iOS and Android devices, the services will become fully available on all devices in January.

iHeartMedia, the creator of iHeartRadio ­ the all-in-one streaming music and live digital radio service ­ today announced the beta availability of iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access powered by Napster. This is the first service that uses on demand functionality to make radio truly interactive, as compared to all current players that simply add on demand functionality to the music collection experience. Available now in beta on iOS and Android devices, the two new services will be fully available on mobile and desktop in January 2017.

With more than 850 radio stations in 150 markets that reach over a quarter of a billion monthly listeners across the U.S, iHeartMedia has the largest national reach of any radio or television outlet in America and is the only media company that has the assets, platform and reach to drive massive consumer awareness and introduce these two new subscription services, built around real radio, to a large new audience on a national scale. In addition, 84 percent of iHeartRadio users do not currently subscribe to an on demand service ­ and now, for the first time, may be interested in subscribing to a service that provides them with the best of live radio combined with easy-to-use on demand functionality that makes radio programming truly interactive – and that they can connect directly to their music collection, something no other service or company has the assets to offer.

“10 times more Americans listen to radio every month than use a subscription service ­ so the debut of iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access powered by Napster is a unique opportunity to capture these non-music subscribers with an on demand service built around radio,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia. “Whereas the LP, CD and music downloads are the ancestors of all current on demand services, the ancestor for our new on demand offerings is broadcast radio. By combining radio’s popularity and reach with interactive on demand functionality, we have created the first fully differentiated streaming music service for consumers.”

iHeartRadio Plus, $4.99 a month, completely transforms live radio listening with the addition of:

Replay: Giving subscribers the ability to instantly replay songs from the radio and then return to the live radio station in progress;

Live and custom Artist Radio stations: now equipped with a save button, allowing subscribers to instantly save songs from the radio directly to their My Music playlist for playback any time;

Search: Search and play any song from a library of millions of tracks;
Unlimited skips: Subscribers listening to custom Artist Radio stations will no longer have a limit on the number of songs they can skip.

iHeartRadio All Access powered by Napster, at $9.99 a month, combines the interactive radio functionally of iHeartRadio Plus with a complete music collection and library that is linked seamlessly to the radio listening experience. Given that 70 percent of consumers — which includes users of on demand music services — have cited radio as their primary source of music discovery, there is finally a service that allows them the convenience and accessibility of merely pushing a button to add a song immediately to their music collection at the same time they hear it on the radio — something no other music collection service can offer. This new offering is the best of all worlds, combined in one service with the ability to:

Build subscribers’ personal music libraries: Completely create, control and curate playlists from a library of millions of tracks;

Give subscribers total flexibility to listen to their music the way they want, when they want: With no playback cap and the ability to reorder, delete and sequence their playlist experience as well as manage unlimited playlists;

Access offline listening: Subscribers can now enjoy offline listening and take their music and playlists with them everywhere they go, even when they don’t have a data connection.

“iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access powered by Napster are revolutionizing how we think of live radio,” said Darren Davis, President of iHeartRadio. “With features such as personal music libraries and playlists, the ability to search and play any song instantly, and the option to save and replay songs directly from live and custom radio listening, our new iHeartRadio on demand offerings are fundamentally changing the way consumers interact with live radio at an unprecedented level. We are introducing a service like no other to tens of millions of consumers across dozens of devices, and also driving massive awareness of the new service to more than a quarter of a billion Americans a month through our broadcast stations alone, which presents a major revenue growth opportunity for our very important strategic partners – artists and the music industry.”

iHeartMedia partnered with Napster to power the music technology back office behind iHeartRadio All Access. Napster brought their depth of experience in on-demand music delivery, customer billing, data and analytics and rights holders’ payments to complement the iHeartRadio-based application.

“iHeartMedia has a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on the tremendous value premium streaming services bring to music fans, and to the music community at large,” said Mike Davis, Napster CEO. “We’re honored that iHeartMedia selected the Napster platform and brand to power a great music experience for consumers, and we’re excited to play a role in what will be a successful launch.”

Aside from the two new subscription on-demand services, iHeartRadio will remain free. iHeartRadio offers users thousands of Live Radio stations, personalized custom Artist Radio stations created by just one song or seed artist and the top podcasts and personalities. With over a billion downloads, iHeartRadio has had tremendous momentum reaching 90 million registered users faster than any other radio or digital music service and even faster than Facebook.

Original Report 9/23: iHeartRadio officially unveiled their plans for the two new subscription services.

iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio AllAccess will both launch in January 2017. The Plus service feature an “enhanced radio experience”, while AllAccess will add on-demand streaming of songs in the vein of Spotify or Apple Music. A song heard on a station could be converted into a custom playlist, played with unlimited skips, or offline.

iHeart states that 84% of its users currently do not subscribe to a subscription music service and will seek to use those as its growth mechanism. No pricing or further features were released at this time.

iHeartMedia, the creator of iHeartRadio – the all-in-one streaming music and live digital radio service – announced today that it is reinventing live radio with the launch of its two new subscription services — iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access — set to debut in January 2017. While research shows that more than 90 percent 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 percent 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 offering will allow listeners to bridge the divide between music discovery and music collecting by seamlessly 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 Darren Davis, President of iHeartRadio. “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 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. “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.”

The two new iHeartRadio services are iHeartRadio Plus, which will be focused on the enhanced 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.

Because iHeartRadio’s new 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:

iHeartRadio Plus is designed to serve as an addition to other on demand services, not as a replacement. It’s a perfect add-on, enhancing the radio listening experience for both new on demand subscribers and those who currently subscribe to other, traditional on demand music collection service, and driving new revenue for both artists and music companies.

iHeartMedia reaches more than a quarter of a billion Americans a month through its broadcast stations alone. No other service comes close — and as a result, iHeartRadio has the ability to drive massive awareness, introducing iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access on a national scale to a large new audience — and the 84 percent of iHeartRadio users who do not currently subscribe to an on demand service and who for the first time may be interested in subscribing to a service that provides them with the best of live radio combined with easy-to-use on demand functionality that the can connect directly to their music collection.

iHeartRadio has reached license agreements with Warner Music Group, Sony Music Group and Universal Music Group, and in addition has signed agreements with independent record labels and distributors including The Orchard, Entertainment One, INgrooves, DashGo, Naxos and CD Baby.

“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. “We’re glad to build upon our relationship with iHeart, which under Bob’s leadership continues to innovate the radio experience by adding distinct features and services and attract a broad audience that remains deeply passionate about music.”

“I’d like to congratulate Bob Pittman and the team at iHeartRadio on their move into the subscription music business,” said Doug Morris, CEO of Sony Music Entertainment. “This deal further expands our long-running successful relationship, and creates promising new commercial opportunities to engage with the millions of music fans who listen to iHeart every day. We look forward to working with them to develop premium music solutions for radio users.”

“We’re pleased to be expanding our long-standing partnership with Bob and his team,” said Steve Cooper, CEO of Warner Music Group. “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.”

“iHeartRadio’s vast audience of digital radio listeners will now see the world of possibilities offered in a subscription service,” says Brad Navin, CEO of The Orchard. “We are excited to see what this opportunity will bring, both for our clients and for the industry as a whole.”

“We are excited to extend our relationship with iHeartMedia from on-air radio to their upcoming music subscription services,” said Bob Roback, CEO of independent music distributor INgrooves. “This is another fantastic opportunity to expand support for our vibrant and global music marketplace and give fans access to great music.”

iHeartRadio announced its upcoming services at the now-legendary iHeartRadio Music Festival, the iconic two-day celebration of music when today’s hottest artists converge on Las Vegas at one time, on one stage, for great performances and unique one-time-only collaborations. This year’s Festival will feature an extraordinary line-up, including performances by U2, Sting, Drake, Britney Spears, Sam Hunt, twenty one pilots, Billy Idol, Florida Georgia Line, OneRepublic, Sia, Cage the Elephant, Zedd, Tears for Fears, Ariana Grande, Pitbull and Usher.

iHeartRadio, which itself was introduced at the inaugural iHeartRadio Music Festival in 2011, is a free all-in-one service that offers listeners thousands of live radio stations, personalized custom artist stations created by just one song or seed artist and the top podcasts and personalities. On-demand offerings will be added in January, 2017.

iHeartRadio recently announced it has surpassed 90 million registered users. The streaming service continues to reach user milestones at a rate faster than Facebook or any other streaming music service. iHeartRadio has also been downloaded more than a billion times and is now available on 90 unique device platforms spanning in-home entertainment, wearables, gaming, mobile and auto.

Original Report 9/20: The New York Post reports today that iHeartMedia is planning on launching two new paid subscription tiers to the iHeartRadio app to take on competitors like Pandora, Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon Prime.

The $10 a month tier will feature on-demand streaming of songs in the vein of Spotify with the $5 a month version allowing a commercial-free version of its custom streaming stations. The Post states that iHeart has some custom features planned for the service potentially including the ability to play songs while in off-line mode.

The launch announcement is expected to be made at this weekend’s iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.

Profile photo of Lance Venta
Lance Venta is the Owner and Publisher of RadioInsight.com and a consultant for RadioBB Networks specializing in integration of radio and the internet. Lance has two decades of experience tracking the audio industry and its use of digital platforms.

4 Comments

  1. Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson


    I’ve been wrong about this before, but maybe the official launch of iHeartRadio’s Canadian version will also be announced in conjunction with the festival.

    In addition, I wonder how quickly iHeart would add any paid services in Australia and New Zealand–which just so happen to also be Pandora’s only other current markets.

  2. Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson


    A new Billboard story (at http://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/7517874/iheartmedia-nearing-paid-streaming-service) pretty much serves as confirmation.

  3. Profile photo of Eric Jon Magnuson


    I’d be very surprised now if iHeartRadio Canada doesn’t launch this weekend–considering that Bell yesterday announced iHeart-branded countdown shows for Virgin and Énergie, both debuting this weekend.

    The English-language press release (at http://www.bellmedia.ca/pr/press/the-countdown-is-on-beginning-this-weekend-new-countdown-show-the-iheartradio-top-20-delivers-the-weeks-biggest-hits-only-on-virgin-radio) describes the platform thusly…

    “Launching soon, the free, all-in-one digital radio and music streaming service will allow listeners access to more than 100 radio stations and more than 100 digital channels, featuring all of their favourite music from every artist in the world.”

  4. Profile photo of Colin


    The presser said “in advance of” the platform launch. Bell used the same language when they were promoting last weekend’s Global Citizen concert.

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