iHeart kicked open the doors to its paid music subscriptions Thursday, after a month in beta test mode.
iHeartMedia, the biggest terrestrial radio company in the US and operator of streaming radio service iHeartRadio, launched two membership tiers: the $5-a-month Plus to replay or skip songs and the $10-a-month All Access to unlock all-you-can-eat tunes.
The move adds iHeart to a growing field of tech and media companies competing for streaming-music customers. In the last three years, consumers have shifted from digital downloads to memberships that charge a monthly fee for unlimited access to tens of millions of songs. The change has made subscriptions the music industry's dominant sales model and lifted revenue for recorded music to its best growth since the era of the CD. That growth has stoked competition among services including Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora and now iHeart to become the de facto platform delivering music to paying subscribers.
In its announcement from CES 2017 in Las Vegas, iHeart said Thursday that listeners can visit iHeartRadio.com on desktop computers for a 30-day free trial of the $10 iHeartRadio All Access tier. The service was available for iOS and Android phones during beta.
Subscribers also will be able to listen to all their saved playlists on some Apple TVs, Android TVs, Xbox One gaming consoles, TiVo devices, Vizio TVs, Samsung Smart TVs, LG Smart TVs and select Monster speakers. Support for Sonos and other devices is coming, it said.
iHeartRadio Plus lets $5 subscribers instantly replay songs from the radio and then return to the live station in progress; save songs to a MyMusic playlist; use a track as the seed for a custom station and hear that specific track first; and skip an unlimited number of songs on nonlive stations.
iHeartRadio All Access gives $10 subscribers the same perks, plus they can build personal music libraries by creating and reordering their own playlists, listen offline and play any song they like without caps or limitations.