iHeartMedia Enters Competitive Streaming Arena
iHeartMedia chairman and CEO Bob Pittman

iHeartMedia is making a foray into the on-demand streaming space.

The San Antonio radio station owner on Thursday launched iHeartRadio Plus and iHeart Radio All Access. The new offerings cost $4.99 per month and $9.99 per month respectively, and are available for Android and iOS devices.

The services are built on top of the company's radio offerings. Users can replay songs off live radio, save songs they like, search and play songs from iHeartMedia's library and skip an unlimited number of songs on artist radio stations. The All Access service also allows subscribers to build a complete music collection and listen to music offline.

"10 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 nonmusic subscribers with an on-demand service built around radio," CEO Bob Pittman said in Thursday's statement.

IHeartMedia isn't the only company to enter the music streaming space in recent months, however.

Amazon (AMZN) launched its Amazon Music Unlimited for Prime members at $7.99 per month in October, while Apple (AAPL) launched its own product last year for $9.99 per month. Pandora (P) will make its new Premium service available on Tuesday for $10 per month. And Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google Play Music and privately owned Spotify also are competitors.

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Citi analyst Mark Kelley said in a Nov. 21 note that the industry is inevitably moving toward on demand. He believes that Amazon's competitive $7.99 per month price for its Amazon Music Unlimited service won't push others in the space such as Apple and Pandora to lower prices.

Even without a price war lowering margins, however, competition for customers could be fierce. Still, Pittman argued iHeartMedia's new service is a little bit different than the others already on the table.

He said the new offering's ancestor is radio, much in the way that CDs and music downloads are the predecessors to current on-demand services such as Google Play Music or Spotify.

"By combining radio's popularity and reach with interactive on-demand functionality, we have created the first fully differentiated streaming music service for consumers," Pittman said in the statement.

The move into on demand comes as the private equity-backed company languishes underneath nearly $20.5 billion in debt. Almost $8.5 billion of that debt is scheduled to be due over the next three years, according to Bloomberg.

IHeartMedia asked investors in its iHeartCommunications division on Monday to approve amendments to six sets of notes, which could make it easier for the radio company to look into a strategic financial restructuring, Bloomberg said. The offer will expire on Dec. 7.

The company, although traded on the OTC Pink tier of OTC Markets under ticker symbol IHRT, is controlled by PE firms Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

An iHeartMedia representative did not immediately return a request for further comment.

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