iHeartRadio

iHeartRadio is an Internet radio platform. Since its creation in 2008, the service has expanded its offerings to include music recommendations, customizable stations, podcasts, and a radio network with content from more than 800 iHeartMedia stations across the United States. In 2014, iHeartRadio introduced the iHeartRadio Music Awards, which continue to attract hosts of popular artists. In 2015, artists Justin Timberlake, Taylor Swift, and Sam Smith won the “Innovator,” “Artist of the Year,” and “Best New Artist” awards, respectively. iHeartRadio regularly hosts concerts in Los Angeles and New York City, with ticket contests featured across the 800 stations. 

Rank Chart Our Score User Score
#1 7.9 6.9 Read Review
#2 7.6 8.0 Read Review
#3 7.0 5.0 Read Review
#12 6.0 1.7 Current

The Good

iHeartRadio is a platform for curated music, with a wide range of features:

  • The service is completely free. There are no hidden charges or paid packages available.
  • iHeartRadio offers 16 genre stations, 400,000 artists, 15 million songs, and more than 1,500 live radio stations.
  • Users may create their own stations according to genre or artist, called "seeds." These curated stations display lyrics and artist bios and include links to purchase songs from other vendors, like Amazon and iTunes.
  • All custom-made stations are commercial-free.
  • While listening to live radio, the website displays a station page with links to the station's official website. The page also displays the station's genre, location, and latest tweet, in addition to the current host's name and the schedule for other hosts that day.
  • On each station page, iHeartRadio features a feed with news stories and photo galleries about the seed artist, a comment section where listeners can engage with one another, and radio event listings ordered by date.
  • Users can upvote or downvote songs as they play. Upvoting a song will make it play more often, while downvoting a song will ensure it never plays again.
  • Live radio station pages display the name, artist, and album art for each song that plays. This display updates constantly, even when users aren't currently listening.
  • iHeartRadio's "Perfect For" tab lets users choose stations based on mood, with categories like "Impressing a Coworker" and "A Midday Slump." Each category is further divided into subcategories, like "Jolt of Energy" and "Caffeine Dreams." Each subcategory includes a range of stations for users to choose from, and the tab updates according to the time of day and day of the week. For example, over the weekend, the tab might feature "Road Trip" or "Spiritual" music. In the evenings, it might feature acoustic and classical music.
  • iHeartRadio offers mobile apps for iPod Touch, iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows Phones 7 and 8, Blackberry 10, and Amazon Fire Phone. It also offers streaming services on the Amazon Echo, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Chromecast, Nexus Player, Roku, Dish, TiVo, PlayStation3, PlayStation4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Bose SoundTouch, Denon HEOS, NuVo, LG Music Flow, Samsung Shape, Sonos, Android TV, LG TV, Sony TV, and Vizio TV.
  • iHeartRadio offers a "Discovery Tuner" while music is playing, which allows users to shift their station seed by artist, from "Familiar" to "Less Familiar."
  • The iHeartRadio platform also offers a wide range of podcasts, sorted by popularity and category. Categories range from Health and Food to the Paranormal.

The Bad

  • As an online streaming service, iHeartRadio's music quality is subject to the strength of users' Internet connections. Songs are not available for download through the site, even for a price.
  • iHeartRadio does not allow users to make playlists of their favorite songs, which means that users are at the mercy of the station's song order.
  • Custom stations are limited to one seed, which means that users can't create stations that feature more than one artist or genre. Stations generated by artist-especially composers with a wide range of material-are rarely harmonious.
  • Users can't navigate music on the iHeartRadio site using their keyboards.
  • iHeartRadio's bitrate is 128 kbps, which is relatively low for online music streaming services. Sound at 128 kbps is further compressed than sound at higher bitrates, which means that users might hear some compression artifacts.
  • Compared to other curated radio services, iHeartRadio offers relatively few songs.
  • Users may only skip fifteen songs per day, and six per hour per station. Once a user has reached this limit, the only way to switch songs is to switch stations entirely. Returning to a station will only replay the current song. The skip limit also applies to songs longer than three or four minutes.
  • Upvoting, downvoting, or skipping a song cannot be undone. Once a song has been skipped, even in error, that skip counts toward the daily limit and users can't play it again until it returns organically. Once a song has been disliked, it will never play again unless a user locates it through the search tool and upvotes it independently.
  • There is no option to censor explicit lyrics.
  • Users can't rewind, fast-forward, or record music while it's playing.
  • When using Google Chromecast or the Xbox app, users can only stream iHeartMedia-owned radio stations. Radio stations owned by other media companies are only available on the website or the mobile app.
  • The website is overwhelmed by different buttons, which makes it difficult to navigate from page to page. The newsfeed sections are filled with sensationalist click-bait, instead of actual news stories.

The Bottom Line

iHeartRadio's extensive offerings set it apart from most other radio streaming services available online. It is available on more platforms, with more options for customizability, but interaction is fairly limited. iHeartRadio's curated service is best suited for people who enjoy live radio and don't mind switching stations or enduring mediocre sound quality to find music they enjoy. Audiophiles, look elsewhere.

7 iHeartRadio Reviews

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  • User Score

    1

    July 11th, 2017

    The app is too difficult to use! The app needs to be simplified!

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  • User Score

    0

    July 1st, 2017

    Worst app ever. It has maybe 30 minutes of content per hour tops. Filled with constant ads and even worse, stupid idiotic top 10 TV shows or TOP 10 songs from 1972 with long 10 sec sound bites of songs we've heard a million times. I don't need to know that a third cousin from Led Zepplins drummer had a top 10 hit in Manchester for 1 week in 1973.

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  • User Score

    2

    June 16th, 2017 Fairfield, CT

    Constant, repetitive commercials. Breaking into the content of news and talk radio live broadcasts. Absolutely the worst service presented by moneygrubbing executives Who care more about making a few extra bucks then providing a service

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  • User Score

    3

    June 5th, 2017

    unreliable non responsive wish i could access newstalk 1010 show podcasts by something more reliable

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  • User Score

    0

    April 17th, 2017

    Advertisement company they don't care about listerner!

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  • User Score

    4

    December 21st, 2016

    For the most part, I like IHeart radio, I don't really listen to specific stations as much as I do genres. One thing that irritates the bejeebers out of me is that I can down vote the same artist or song repeatedly and it makes no difference, I keep getting them again. For example, I listen to fingerstyle guitar by Don Ross, Leo Kottke etc, this is a strictly instrumental (guitar mainly) style, yet I keep getting Joni Mitchell thrown into the mix. Not only is that vocals, but it is not even in the genre. Maybe your software that sorts the music needs a little tweeking or something. Please find a way to fix this problem/

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  • User Score

    2

    August 5th, 2016 Haledon, NJ

    In their attempt to generate more revenue, they are compromising the content of live radio shows by adding more commercials. Also, when you tune to a new station, you get a plethora of the same damn commercials over and over. It's past being annoying. I've turned off the radio because of the same number of similar commercials over and over.

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