iHeartRadio Taking Millions of Listeners To Streaming

After a month’s test, America’s largest radio empire’s digital and streaming service iHeartRadio has officially launched on-demand streaming services. iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access will be available on mobile, desktop and compatible devices.

It seems 84% of its 95 million registered listeners do not subscribe to any of the current services out there. With ten times more Americans listening to radio than streaming, and with major radio executives admitting that streaming is radio’s future, this seems an appropriate move.

iHeartRadio Plus, for which Americans pay US$4.99 a month, has offline listening, unlimited song skips and replays as well as custom stations based on a song or artist.

iHeartRadio All Access ($9.99), aside from live radio, allows users to skip tracks, replay recent tracks, look up albums and singles, and includes an on-demand access to a library of “millions” of songs from Napster (which is beating Pandora to a similar service).

Users can also add tracks heard on live radio directly to their collections or playlists for posterity, “something no other music collection service can offer,” the company says. These can be organised into different playlists, depending on what kind of social activity the music is used for.

These new offerings are already found on the likes of Spotify and Apple Music. However, iHeartRadio, which reached 85% brand recognition in five years, has a unique offering. These are 858 terrestrial radio stations with deeply loyal listeners across the USA, who tune in to hear their favourite radio personalities and enter in in their popular competitions.

The idea of this on-demand streaming is to give listeners more options (with the cheaper price tempting them to try streaming for the first time), as opposed to directly taking on Spotify and Apple Music.

According iHeartRadio president Darren Davis, the beta tests reported the best listening figures since its 2011 launch.

"iHeartMedia is the only media company that has the assets, platform and reach to drive massive consumer awareness and successfully introduce two new subscription services, built around real radio, so rapidly," he said. "iHeartRadio has truly differentiated itself by offering features that no other services can."

On the horizon in later this year is iHeartRadio’s integration with Google Home (users link their accounts with Google Plus, like Spotify or Pandora, and play artists or albums) as well as Samsung’s Family Hub (users can listen to iHeartRadio stations from their refrigerator), the Samsung Gear S3 smartwatch (music incorporated in watch), mobile app DISH Music (users stream music on TV audio systems throughout the home and control this content via their Android or iOS smartphones and tablets) and Speak Music’s new voice-enabled platform Melody (busy multi-tasking users access music and audio content with voice commands).

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