Bottom line: If Apple was to ink a deal with iHeartMedia, it could leverage the platform to bring Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio station to more listeners over traditional broadcasts. Beats 1, a radio station that operates around the clock, was largely designed to promote Apple Music, the company’s paid streaming service. That wouldn’t really help iHeartMedia’s terrestrial ambitions in the long run but drastic times often call for drastic measures.
Apple may turn to the nation’s largest radio operator, iHeartMedia, to bolster its streaming music service.
iHeartMedia, the radio conglomerate that owns more than 850 terrestrial radio stations in the US, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection earlier this year. According to the Financial Times, the company’s creditors have been contacting potential investors ahead of an upcoming deadline to file a reorganization plan.
iHeartMedia has more than $20 billion in debt, most of which came about through a leveraged buyout of Clear Channel Outdoor in 2008.
The rise in popularity of streaming services like Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music has eroded traditional radio audiences and made it especially hard for companies like iHeartMedia to survive. Still, it has enough influence to make it valuable to the music industry.
One source told the Financial Times that iHeartMedia is hoping Apple will acquire an equity stake in the company worth tens of millions of dollars. Another source said the deal could be a multimillion-dollar marketing partnership versus a direct investment.
Either way, the talks are at a very early stage and no deal has yet been reached. Both companies declined to comment on the matter when reached by the Financial Times.
Lead image courtesy Jason Kempin, Getty Images.