LAS VEGAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Universal Music Group (UMG), the world’s leading music company, and iHeartMedia, the leading media company in America with a greater reach in the U.S. than any other radio or television outlet, announced a partnership focused around virtual reality (VR) that will enable the companies to connect artists, music fans and brands and sponsors in a series of revolutionary, fully immersive entertainment experiences.
The announcement was made today at CES 2016 by Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of UMG, and Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia.
Together, the companies will leverage their respective strengths – including UMG’s deep music expertise, world-renowned roster of superstars and new artists and industry-leading music library, and iHeartMedia’s 245 million monthly broadcast listeners, nearly 90 million digital uniques, 80 million social followers, roster of nationally-recognized marquee events, and the consumer relationships its personalities have with listeners -- to drive innovation in both music and VR. The companies will create entertainment experiences that leverage cutting-edge technology, making immersive VR performances and experiences accessible to U.S. audiences for the first time at scale.
In addition, UMG and iHeartMedia will invite brands to partner with them to develop, produce and distribute these one-of-a-kind entertainment experiences, using integrated approaches to connect their brands and products to both artists and consumers.
Through this initiative, one VR experience by a UMG artist will be added to each major marquee iHeartMedia event in 2016, including the iHeartRadio Music Awards, the iHeartRadio Country Festival, the iHeartRadio Summer Pool Party, the iHeartRadio Fiesta Latina, the iHeartRadio Music Festival and the iHeartRadio Jingle Ball Tour, with this first-ever VR music series launching at the iHeartRadio Music Awards on April 3, 2016 which will broadcast live on iHeartMedia radio stations nationwide and on TBS, TNT and truTV. The companies will collaborate on full shows from four individual artists, shot and distributed in VR, at the iHeartRadio VR Concert Series held at the iHeartRadio Theater in Los Angeles.
“At UMG, we are focused on harnessing cutting-edge technology to pioneer new creative and commercial opportunities for artists, labels and fans,” said Lucian Grainge, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group. “By combining iHeartMedia’s music events and hundreds of millions of listeners with the ability of our artists to forge powerfully emotional connections with their fans, we are ideally positioned to use VR technology to create authentic experiences that benefit our artists, consumers and marketing partners.”
“Our greatest strength at iHeartMedia is that we curate for our listeners – in this case, working with UMG to create a completely new entertainment experience using state-of-the-art VR technology,” said Bob Pittman, Chairman and CEO of iHeartMedia, Inc. “And now, as advertisers seek to tie their brands and products to music and artists in innovative ways, we can use our industry-leading reach and best-of-breed music events to unlock the combined power of music and VR as a revolutionary marketing tool. We’re excited to work with UMG in a partnership unlike any in the music and entertainment industry.”
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group is the global music leader, with wholly owned operations in 60 territories. Its businesses also include Universal Music Publishing Group, one of the industry's premier music publishing operations worldwide.
Universal Music Group's labels include A&M Records, Angel, Astralwerks, Blue Note Records, Capitol Christian Music Group, Capitol Records, Capitol Records Nashville, Caroline, Decca, Def Jam Recordings, Deutsche Grammophon, Disa, Emarcy, EMI Records Nashville, Fonovisa, Geffen Records, Harvest, Interscope Records, Island Records, Machete Music,Manhattan, MCA Nashville, Mercury Nashville, Mercury Records, Motown Records, Polydor Records, Republic Records, Universal Music Latino, Verve Music Group, Virgin Records, Virgin EMI Records, as well as a multitude of record labels owned or distributed by its record company subsidiaries around the world. The Universal Music Group owns the most extensive catalogue of music in the industry, which includes the last 100 years of the world's most popular artists and their recordings. UMG's catalogue is marketed through two distinct divisions, Universal Music Enterprises (in the U.S.) and Universal Strategic Marketing (outside the U.S.). Universal Music Group also includes Global Digital Business, its new media and technologies division and Bravado, its merchandising company.
Universal Music Group is a fully owned subsidiary of Vivendi.
With 245 million monthly listeners in the U.S., 87 million monthly digital uniques, over 75 million social followers and 196 million monthly consumers of its Total Traffic and Weather Network, iHeartMedia has the largest reach of any radio or television outlet in America. It serves over 150 markets through 858 owned radio stations, and the company’s radio stations and content can be heard on AM/FM, HD digital radio, satellite radio, on the Internet at iHeartRadio.com and on the company’s radio station websites, on the iHeartRadio mobile app, in enhanced auto dashes, on tablets and smartphones, and on gaming consoles.
iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia’s digital radio platform, is the No. 1 all-in-one digital audio service with over 800 million downloads; it reached its first 20 million registered users faster than any digital service in Internet history and reached 70 million users faster than any other radio or digital music service and even faster than Facebook. The company’s operations include radio broadcasting, online, mobile, digital and social media, live concerts and events, syndication, music research services and independent media representation. iHeartMedia is a division of iHeartMedia, Inc. (OTCBB:IHRT). Visit iHeartMedia.com for more company information.