iHeartRadio Revolution

The iHeartRadio App is the radio/ streaming service app from iHeart Media formally Clear Channel Communications. As described on the iHeartMedia web site “iHeartRadio is a free, all-in-one digital music service that gives users instant access to thousands of live radio stations from across the country and the ability to create commercial-free, custom music stations featuring songs from their favorite artist and similar music”.

A screen shot of the iHeartRadio app from bestvendor.com
A screen shot of the iHeartRadio app from bestvendor.com

This app truly revolutionized what a radio station mobile app could and should be. It provides access to all of the iHeartMedia radio stations across the country at the touch of a finger. The app was so successful and the branding of the product was so successful that Clear Channel Media has rebranded its company after the product and is now iHeartMedia. In a letter to investors iHeartMedia said “On Sept. 16, 2014, we announced the exciting news that we have become iHeartMedia, Inc. — reflecting our commitment to programming live content and entertainment across all media platforms. This name change is for branding purposes only.”

It’s one of the most successful social apps in history “iHeartRadio reached 20 million registered users, a milestone reached in only 13 months — faster than all other popular entertainment and communication platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Pandora, Spotify and Instagram.”

I think what make it successful is the variety it offers and it also is interactive and fans can use it to vote on songs they like and even for the iHeartRadio awards. The success of the app is measured in downloads and the number of active users that the app enjoys.

The challenge that radio stations and media companies in general are facing is that if you’re not an iHeartRadio station or affiliated with the app how do you compete with it? The key is to be user friendly and interactive and try to localize your content. The station I work at is using the commotion app that allows people to stream the radio station as well as message within the app.

The most important thing in mobile and social apps is to adapt. What are things that you’d like to see in a radio mobile app?

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8 thoughts on “iHeartRadio Revolution

  1. I used to have this app and thought it was great! However I tossed it aside due to the fact of expensive and limited data fees. Do you think that limited data is hurting applications such as this? I can only assume that these companies are taking a bit of a hit because of it. More and more people are finding a way around these limited data plans, but the problem is, not everyone can always be connected to a WiFi network. How do you think these companies overcome this problem?

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    1. Karl,
      I think that in some respects that the limited data does hurt the app. I know for me personally I ended up dropping my premium subscription to Spotify for the very same reason. I think because the app is also accessible on desktop that it can compensate for it a little bit but I’m sure that’s something iHeart is looking at.

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  2. Josh – I’m an old-school radio fan. The rest of my family has streaming music, and I still want to hear radio hosts joke around and give me the traffic. I’ve never checked out IHeartMedia, but I will be tonight. My one question for you is – how did this company get so many users so quickly? What strategy did they use to accomplish this? Thanks so much for sharing!

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    1. Nan-

      Us old school radio hosts thank you for that! I believe that one reason for the success is something that Pandora just doesn’t have and that is the network of terrestrial radio stations of every format to push the product. They have some of the best known shows like On-Air with Ryan Seacrest and Rush Limbough on their app along with the other music selections. The content and the reach are something that most can’t compete with.

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  3. Very interesting and cool post. How does the app and service compete with Spotify and Pandora? And with Podcast? This would be very interesting for long road trips or at work, when you want to have different music available, as opposed to one station or sound of music. It taps into live radio too, correct?

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    1. Tyler,

      It gives you access to thousands of radio stations across the country and you can build your own. I think the music library is similar to that of Spotify and it has less ads than Pandora in my experience. As for podcasts it does feature some podcast material on demand. I usually gravitate toward PodcastOne for most of my podcast listening though.

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  4. Josh,

    Good post on iHeartMedia (or as I like to call them, iHateRadio). As you can tell, I’m not a huge fan of iHeart/Clear Channel as I feel like they have zapped all of the originality and fun out of radio. Long gone are the days of DJs playing deep cuts, now it’s the same 5 Pink Floyd (or insert other popular band name here) songs over and over and over again.

    Do you think that Clear Channel has been good overall for terrestrial radio?

    Thanks,
    Dan

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    1. Hi Dan! I’m a little mixed on the CC/iHeart good for radio deal. I like the accessibility of the app but the cookie cutter approach to radio is concerning. There is something to be said for local radio in my opinion. The network stuff I think sounds kind of generic and that only hurts the industry in my opinion.

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