iHeartRadio signs major label deals to launch Spotify rival in Q1 2017

iHeartMedia has inked deals with at least two major labels for its upcoming Spotify rival, MBW can reveal – with the aim to launch a duo of new streaming products in Q1 2017.

Rock solid sources tell us that iHeart has two brand names locked and loaded for the services.

iHeartRadio Plus will be its mid-tier, ad-free offering for around $5-a-month – complementing iHeart’s existing combination of ‘traditional’ radio listening options and algorithmic artist-led stations.

iHeartRadio All Access, meanwhile, will offer a full on-demand music streaming service akin to Apple Music or Spotify for $10-a-month.

How will iHeart stand out in a congested streaming market?

Its big pitch: the only app to offer hundreds of ‘live’ local radio stations alongside on-demand music streaming – plus podcasts and digital ‘Pandora-style’ radio.

With the third major label deal imminent if not already signed, the company could even announce its new products at the iHeartRadio Music Festival, due to kick off tomorrow (September 23).

Currently, the iHeartRadio app offers access to 850+ live local radio stations.

Last month, it surpassed 90m registered users – up from the 80m it announced back in January.

iHeart’s closest rival is widely seen to be Pandora, which last week announced its own ‘Plus’ $5-a-month product – including a ‘predictive offline’ mode when users’ mobile or WiFi signal cuts out.

In addition, Pandora announced a new, more interactive free tier, which enables users to skip ‘radio’ tracks forward and backwards so long as they opt-in to watching video advertising.

Pandora will introduce its own fully on-demand $9.99-per-month product to rival Spotify and Apple Music by the end of 2016.Music Business Worldwide

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