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Apple courting iHeartMedia to boost its streaming offering

Apple tunes into radio to boost its streaming offer

Apple is reportedly turning to old media to give its streaming service a leg up by forming a partnership with iHeartMedia, the US radio group.

iHeartMedia is currently battling to stave off bankruptcy and Apple has emerged as a potential white knight suitor keen to strike a deal for an equity stake worth tens of millions or potentially some form of marketing partnership.

iHeartMedia is weighed down by $20bn of debt, forcing it to file for bankruptcy protection in March as listeners switch off in favour of new digital services supplied by the likes of Pandora, Spotify and Apple music itself.

According to The Financial Times, discussions remain at a tentative stage but could entail Apple Music’s Beats 1 radio station make its broadcast radio debut, helping it to expand its reach among less digitally savvy audiences as well as secondary listening environments such as vehicles and kitchens.

Apple overtook Spotify in the US earlier this year in a psychologically important moment but still has a fight on its hands to become global top dog, trailing Spotify’s 80m paying subscribers with just 50m.

Recent Apple acquisitions include the likes of Shazam, illustrating the extent of its ambitions in the sector.

Despite its close shave with bankruptcy iHeartMedia has agreed to purchase a stake in Stuff Media.

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