iHeartRadio’s entry into the crowded on-demand music streaming market will stay true to its roots.
The company’s new streaming services, iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access, will incorporate on-demand listening into radio stations.
"Spotify is digitized CDs," iHeartRadio President Darren Davis told Mashable . "Our ancestor is radio."
The services, announced in September , let users play regular radio or custom and artist stations. From there, users can replay songs. When a replay ends, they will be redirected back to the live or custom radio station.
While listening to Z100, for example, you could save or replay a song before going back to whatever’s on the air:
iHeartRadio Plus costs $4.99 a month and iHeartRadio All Access costs $9.99 a month. All Access, which was developed by Napster, comes with offline listening, more flexibility on creating playlists and the ability to build a personal music library along with radio listening.
Both services launched in beta on Thursday ahead of a full launch in January. Users can opt in to a 30-day free trial by downloading or updating the app.
While iHeartRadio might not have as much name recognition as Spotify or Apple Music, it’s one of the biggest music-related companies out there. Its parent company iHeartMedia, formerly known as Clear Channel Communications, owns 858 radio stations and serves a "quarter of a billion" monthly listeners.
Like Pandora, iHeartRadio claims it can carve out its own market in music streaming because most of its listeners don’t pay for a streaming service. Its service is targeted not toward Spotify users who want to curate their playlists and listen to every new album, but to listeners who like old-fashioned radio but just want a little more control.
iHeartRadio will be competing with fellow newcomers Amazon Music Unlimited , priced at $7.99 for Prime members, and Pandora’s upgraded $5 a monthad-free service and forthcoming on-demand option, along with the usual top players.
The new iHeartRadio services will be available on iOS and Android. The free version of iHeartRadio, which lets its 90 million users listen to radio stations live, will remain unchanged.