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iHeartRadio’s new service mixes streaming radio with on-demand music

Users can now save, skip, or replay radio tracks

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In a bid to provide a more flexible service that can draw in customers who haven’t yet picked an on-demand streaming service, iHeartRadio is rolling out two new offerings today. The first, iHeartRadioPlus, costs $4.99 a month and lets you search, save, replay, and skip songs you hear playing on a live digital radio stream.

The second, iHeartRadio All Access, costs $9.99 a month and has all the features of the first package, but adds an on-demand library where users can simply search for songs they would like to hear at the moment. The erstwhile music service Napster, formerly Rhapsody, is providing the underlying technology.

iHeart says this service offers “millions” of songs, but we don’t know if its comparable to the collections offered by Spotify or Apple Music. All Access does give users features like the ability to craft playlists or download music for offline listening.

Having live radio as a part of your on-demand streaming service is a nice way around the exclusives we’re increasingly seeing on Apple Music or Tidal. And iHeart is working to position these new offerings not as a direct competitor to Spotify or Apple Music, but as an alternative that will appeal to people who have never tried an on-demand streaming service before.

"Ten 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."