Most streaming services out there rely on a preset music library based upon the licenses obtained by the service, or on the user's own music collection as a backup, in some cases. iHeartRadio has always been unique among app-based music services in that its content is based upon live radio, with licensed music collections as a backup. Now, iHeartRadio is jumping on the subscription service bandwagon with two different paid subscription tiers that use live radio as a backbone, letting users exert control over radio content similar to that which other streaming services let users exert over more traditionally collected musical offerings.
The cheaper tier, at $4.99 per month, is called iHeartRadio Plus. It includes all of the traditional trappings of an iHeartRadio account, along with a few different perks. Users can replay a song that they just heard, useful for those times that you hop in the car or sit down at your desk and catch the end of your favorite song, and can also search for whatever song or artist they want. Users can also listen to custom radio stations built around a particular artist, song or genre, and use a save button that allows them to save a given song for replaying later on. Finally, those listening to such stations will have an unlimited number of track skips available. The iHeartRadio All Access package comes in at $9.99, and is backed up by Napster's enormous music library and stable service. On top of all the functionality of iHeartRadio Plus, users can manage and sequence playlists, save music to listen offline, and have the service build them curated playlists, similar to YouTube's My Mix function. This tier also brings a wider selection of music, thanks to Napster.
The new services are already available through the main iHeartRadio app on iOS and Android, which means that anybody who's interested can go ahead and sign up right now. They are in beta, which means that their functions could break, and users can be helpful to the developers by providing error reports, logs, and feedback. Those who use iHeartRadio on other mobile platforms, in their browser, or on desktop platforms will have to wait for the subscription services to get out of beta and launch fully in all markets at some point during January of 2017.