iHeartRadio are blurring the lines between their free streaming radio service and their paid, premium playlist playing option.
iHeartRadio’s Premium playlists are getting their own radio stations so that free users can get a taste of the Premium life. iHeartRadio is known for offering free streaming of thousands of radio stations live on AM and FM broadcast as well as a Pandora-like feature that lets you create your own custom stations.
Their Premium offering allows listeners to pay to listen to proper, curated playlists which users can edit, re-queue, and even play songs in it on demand. With Playlist Radio the two offerings are combined with the stations playing a curated selection of music selected by radio DJs and iHeartRadio staff.
iHeartRadio’s chief product officer, Chris Williams said: “One of the things we’re most excited about and the area where I feel like we really excel is in music curation. We have some of the greatest music curators on the planet within iHeartRadio. We have the best radio programmers, music directors, and program directors who are out there curating every single day for their radio stations. So we tapped into the resources that we had there, as well as finding some external expertise.
“I think it’s exposing a great listening experience to our existing free users, and offering them up a listening opportunity that doesn’t exist on the free tier right now. I think what radio does a brilliant job at is programming formatically. And I think what Playlist Radio does a great job of offering listening occasions that are thematic,” Williams continued.
Control over the playlist will be limited as it is usually for free users with the ability to skip up to 6 songs in the playlist every hour, but no more. Nor will free users be able to freely play and re-arrange tracks in the playlist. But they will still gain access to 1,000 new playlists (technically stations) including artist-created, genre-based, activity-focused, music era-focused, and theme-based playlists. Some playlists won’t be included as they have too few songs to be played as a radio.
Most of the playlists will also be refreshed each week where it makes sense for them to be updated. Free users can start streaming playlist stations on iHeartRadio now, whereas those paying for iHeartRadio Plus or All Access, their unlimited music streaming tier, can listen to them as usual.