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Published on November 1st, 2018 | by Brad Gibson

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Apple eyes buying stake in iHeartMedia radio group

Apple is exploring buying a stake in iHeartMedia to buy a stake in the bankrupt U.S. radio company which owns more than 850 AM and FM radio stations, according to sources and reported by the Financial Times on Thursday.

Sources report Apple is considering the deal to gain wider distribution and awareness of its Beats 1 radio networks as well as Apple Music. Discussions between the two parties are in their early stages. Apple declined to comment, as did iHeartMedia.

Another source suggested that the tie-up could result in a multimillion-dollar marketing partnership instead of a direct investment, the FT said.

Beats 1 is only available streaming through an Apple Music subscription. BESTAppleTV sources connected with Beats 1 in London confirm the service is “an expensive undertaking” and that “Apple is looking for ways to better optimize its investment and cost.”

Previously known as Clear Channel, the 10-year-old iHeartMedia filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March, with a debt load of more than $20 billion. 

Though a deal isn’t impossible, it is far from certain. Rumors of potential Apple interest in all sorts of radio ventures, including Sirius XM satellite radio, have previously gone nowhere. While iHeartMedia’s listener reach and listener demographic might be appealing, its financial situation could leave Apple in a position of having to invest much more than its initial investment.

Earlier this year, Apple bought music recognition app Shazam to bolster its music business as the company takes on streaming giant Spotify. Apple’s subscription service boasted 50 million active users in May. Spotify has 83 million paying subscribers and 100 million or so unpaid users.

iHeartMedia’s iHeart Radio brand, which includes the streaming of many of its radio stations, is available as a free app on Apple TV.

 

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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