Watch out Pandora: iHeartRadio has 50M registered users

Steven Loeb · June 17, 2014 · Short URL:

The radio streaming service also had 97 million unique listeners in May

I almost never listen to the radio anymore.  And when I do I almost never find anything I like. i tried hooking up my iPod to the radio, but the reception was awful. For me, I'd rather listen to what I want, when I want. There's a reason that the radio format was so successful for so many years, though: people really like it.

For proof, Just look at the success of Pandora. The company, which creates custom radio stations, has more than 250 million registered users, making it is the largest music streaming service out there. But that might not be the case for much longer, as another, similar service just announced some mighty impressive user numbers and growth.

Clear Channel's iHeartRadio revealed on Tuesday that it had reached 97 million unique listeners in the month of May, and that it now has 50 million total registered users. (A listener does not have to register with iHeartRadio in order to use the service, but must if they want to create a custom station.) And that growth has all come in less than three years.

To be clear, iHeartRadio is not revealing the most important number: just how many of those 50 million are currently active. Active users are, of course, those who are actually using the service, which is the most important number to advertisers. It doesn't do them any good to be selling to people who are not even using the thing.

VatorNews has reached out to iHeartRadio to find out how many users are active. We will update if we learn more. 

In addition, the company says that its app has been downloaded 345 million times, and that it has gained 15.4 billion social impressions from is events, including the iHeartRadio Music Festival, Ultimate Pool Party and iHeartRadio Music Awards. There is obviously a huge amount of room for the company to grow, and it could happen very quickly.

The iHeartRadio service acts as both a music recommender system and a radio network that aggregates audio content from over 800 local Clear Channel radio stations.

So how does its numbers compare to other services in the space?

First there is Spotify, which recently announced that it  had 40 million active users, with 10 million subscribers. Then there is Rdio, which was actually founded by Janus Friis, the co-creator of Skype, offers access to over 20 million songs in 51 countries around the world. The company has not revealed the exact number of users it has.

Deezer had only five million paying subscribers as of November 2013. Meanwhile, shut down its streaming service entirely in March.

With these new numbers,  iHeartRadio looks to be a service that we, and Pandora especially, should be keeping an eye on in the coming months and years. 

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Pandora, the leading internet radio service, gives people music they love
anytime, anywhere, through a wide variety of connected devices: laptop and
desktop computers, smartphones, connected BluRay players, connected TVs,
etc. Personalized stations launch instantly with the input of a single “seed” –
a favorite artist, song or genre. The Music Genome Project®, a deeply
detailed, hand-built musical taxonomy, powers the personalization or
Pandora. Using this musicological “DNA” and constant listener feedback
Pandora crafts personalized stations from the more than 800,000 songs that
have been analyzed since the project began in January 2000.
More than 75 million people throughout the United States listen to
personalized radio stations for free on Pandora through their PCs, mobile
phones and devices such as the iPad, and connected in-house devices
ranging from TVs to set-top boxes to Blu-Ray players. Mobile technology has
been a significant factor in the growth and popularity of Pandora, starting
with the introduction of the Apple app store for the iPhone in the summer of
2008. Pandora instantly became one of the most top downloaded apps and
today, according to Nielsen, is one of the top five most popular apps across
all smartphone platforms.

Pandora is free, simple and, thanks to connectivity, available everywhere
consumers are – at the office, at home, in the car and all points in between.
In 2009 the Company announced that Pandora would be incorporated into
the dashboard in Ford cars via SYNC technology; GM has already followed in
announcing plans to integrate Pandora into its vehicles and Mercedes-Benz
introduced their Media Interface Plus device that works with the
free Pandora iPhone app to provide direct control of Pandora from in-dash
stereo controls. This was all great news for the millions of Pandora listeners
who had been plugging their smartphones into car dashboards to listen to
personalized stations while driving. More than 50 percent of radio listening
happens in the car, making it a crucial arena for Pandora.

Today tens of millions of people have a deeply personal connection with
Pandora based on the delight of personalized radio listening and discovery.
These highly engaged listeners reinforce the value Pandora provides to: 1)
musicians, who have found in Pandora a level playing field on which their
music has a greater chance of being played than ever before; 2) advertisers,
who benefit from the multi-platform reach of Pandora, as well as its best
practices in targeting consumers for specific campaigns; 3) the music
industry, which has found in Pandora a highly effective distribution channel;
and 4) automobile and consumer electronics device manufacturers, who have
noted that incorporating Pandora into their product makes it more valuable
to consumers.

Pandora continues to focus on its business in the United States. The radio
arena has never been hotter, thanks to technology that enables radio to be
personalized to the individual and more accessible than ever before. Right
now millions of people listen to Pandora in the United States and we hope
someday to bring Pandora to billions of people around the world.

• 2000 – Tim Westergren’s Music Genome Project begins.
• 2005 – Pandora launches on the web.
• 2008 – Pandora app becomes one of the most consistently downloaded
apps in the Apple store.
• 2009 – Ford announces Pandora will be incorporated into car
dashboard. Alpine and Pioneer begin selling aftermarket radios that
connect to consumers’ iPhones and puts the control and command of
Pandora into the car dashboard.
• 2010 – Pandora is present on more than 200 connected consumer
electronics devices ranging from smartphones to TVs to set-top boxes
to Blu-ray players and is able to stream visual, audio, and interactive
advertising to computers, smartphones, iPads, and in-home connected