Earlier this month the Financial Times (a subscription is required to read the article) reported that Apple reported may invest in iHeartMedia to drive more users to Apple Music.
Now the publication says 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.
Chances this rumor is true, per the Sellers Research Group (that’s me): 80%. Such a move would seem to fit into Apple’s plans to expand its Services offerings.
iHeartMedia specializes in radio broadcasting through its iHeartMedia division and subsidiary iHeartMedia and Entertainment, Inc. The company owns more than 850 full-power AM and FM radio stations in the U.S., making it the nation's largest owner of radio stations. The company also leases two channels on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and has expanded its online presence through the iHeartRadio platform.
iHeartMedia is $20 billion in debt and filed for bankruptcy in March. It’s been talking with potential investors ahead of a deadline later this month to file a reorganization plan with the bankruptcy court.
According to the Financial Times, an Apple-iHeartMedia partnership “could see Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio station, which is only available through its apps, make its debut on broadcast radio. Extra distribution would give Beats 1 and Apple Music greater awareness among older audiences who are later adopters of streaming services.” A deal would also put the Apple station into more cars or kitchens.