New Details on Apple's Negotiations With iHeartMedia Surface
Earlier this month, Financial Times reported that Apple had held talks with U.S. radio company iHeartMedia regarding the possibility of Apple taking a financial stake in the struggling radio company that filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. Despite its financial troubles, iHeartMedia remains the largest radio station owner in the country with over 850 AM and FM stations.
Financial Times has followed up with a new report today outlining some additional details on the negotiations between Apple and iHeartMedia, and while no deal has been struck, it appears Apple is considering several options that would help it leverage iHeartMedia's expertise in terrestrial radio and promote Apple Music and Beats 1 to millions of potential customers.
According to people familiar with the negotiations, Apple has considered buying a stake in the radio group, as well as signing a marketing or promotional partnership.
Another option under consideration is for Apple to acquire iHeartRadio’s streaming platform, which would be a relatively cheap way to reach the service’s 120m registered users.
One unnamed music executive quoted in the story notes that the millions of radio listeners around the world will "inevitably migrate" to online options over time, and Apple undoubtedly would love to make Apple Music the destination for those users as it continues to compete with the likes of Spotify.
The report also notes that Apple Music's user base has grown to 56 million subscribers, up from 50 million as of May. While the increase has pushed Apple past Spotify to become the largest music streaming service in the U.S., Spotify is still growing at a faster pace globally, adding 12 million users over the past six months to reach a total of 87 million subscribers.