Following Pandora, iHeartRadio reveals new premium radio and on-demand music streaming

iHeartRadio is going head-to-head with Spotify but hopes its expertise in Internet radio will give it an edge.

Stop me if you’ve already heard this one: A major Internet radio service is improving its core service and adding an on-demand, Spotify-style product. No, we’re not talking about Pandora—this time it's iHeartRadio's turn.

The company behind the services, iHeartMedia (formerly Clear Channel), announced iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access on Friday. The two new subscription plans will roll out in January.

The story behind the story: With so many music services competing for our attention, iHeartMedia hopes it can lure more people to its offerings by focusing on radio. The company says even the new Spotify-like service, iHeartRadio All Access, will focus on improving your radio experience. The company is short on specifics, but from the sounds of it the music you listen to using All Access will inform the selections you hear on iHeartRadio's Internet radio.

Differentiation is a key strategy in today’s streaming scene. There are a wide range of competing music services, and all of them have access to more or less the same catalogs save for a few exclusives. The only way to stand apart, then, is to offer a unique and compelling set of features. iHeartRadio already does to a certain degree by offering broadcast radio streaming.

Another Plus for radio

The improved radio experience, iHeartRadio Plus, sounds like it will offer similar features to Pandora’s new service Pandora Plus, but again, specifics are slim. The new iHeartRadio Plus will have replay functionality and users will be able to save songs to playlists. The company also told TechCrunch that Plus would have unlimited song skips, though there's no no word regarding offline listening or whether replays will be limited. Plus is designed as an add-on to a subscription service, be it iHeartRadio All Access or a competitor.

There are no details on pricing but an earlier report by The New York Post said Plus would cost $5 per month and All Access would be $10. The All Access price is in line with what most streaming services offer, and $5 a month is the same price Pandora announced for Pandora Plus.

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Ian Paul

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