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What is iHeartRadio?
iHeartRadio is a free Internet radio service that offers both live radio stations and custom stations tailored to a user's music tastes. Established in April 2008, it was originally limited to US residents and only offered radio stations owned by parent company iHeartMedia.
In the years since, it has expanded its operation to Canada, Australia and New Zealand, providing each region with live streams from local stations as well as the ability to create custom radio stations from a library of over 20 million songs from more than 450,000 artists.
What features does iHeartRadio support?
Unlike Spotify, Apple Music and other on-demand music streaming services, iHeartRadio does not let you pick out and play individual songs—it's all about the more traditional radio format of pre-built playlists and curated music. To that end, iHeartRadio offers a number of features other services don't.
Custom radio stations
By selecting a genre, mood, artist or song, iHeartRadio will build you a custom radio station featuring music inspired by your choice. Similar artists and songs are pulled from a library of over 20 million tracks, and you can adjust how much emphasis iHeartRadio should place on new versus familiar artists using the service's Discovery Tuner tool.
You can also have iHeartRadio create a "My Favourites Radio" station based on the songs and artists you listen to most. Best of all, custom radio stations are completely commercial-free.
Whether you're listening to a live local radio station or a custom-built one, you can use iHeartRadio's like and dislike buttons at any time to indicate what you think about a particular song. For a live radio station like Triple J, this will provide valuable feedback for what's hot and what's not. For custom stations, liking a track will cause it and similar tracks to show up more often while disliking a track will ensure it is no longer included in future playlists.
Music isn't all iHeartRadio offers. Teaming up with artists like Jennifer Hudson and 311, iHeartRadio runs and sponsors live music events all around the world. These range from fan meet-and-greets to full-blown concerts. If you can't make it to an event in person, the iHeartRadio website posts all the news, photos and videos from iHeartRadio Live events for you to browse at your leisure.
In addition to its Internet radio service and its schedule of live events, iHeartRadio also maintains a feed of the hottest happenings in the world of music. From the latest Aussie tour dates to the new viral music video tearing up the YouTube charts, the quick-hit coverage is a handy way of keeping up-to-date with the biggest news in the music industry.
Podcasts and music go hand in hand these days, so it's no surprise that iHeartRadio includes a variety of podcasts covering topics like food, politics, sports and more. The range isn't enormous, though, so don't expect iHeartRadio to serve as a complete replacement for a dedicated podcast app.
What features doesn't iHeartRadio support in Australia?
A number of iHeartRadio features available in the US have yet to make their way to Australia. These include the following:
A standalone app built for kids between the ages of 4 and 11, iHeartRadio Family offers curated music from kid-friendly artists like Selena Gomez, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. It also includes songs and educational programming featuring characters like Thomas the Tank Engine, Elmo and Dora the Explorer.
iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access
iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access are premium subscription tiers that add extra features to the basic iHeartRadio service. iHeartRadio Plus includes the ability to save and replay any song you hear from any radio station, play any track from the iHeartRadio library on-demand, skip as many songs as you want and create custom playlists of up to 40 songs. iHeartRadio All Access adds all that plus the ability to save playlists and play them offline as well as allowing for playlists of unlimited size.
What can I listen to on iHeartRadio?
In Australia, iHeartMusic has partnered with the Australian Radio Network to offer live streaming of stations from all around the country. The following are some of the most popular stations:
- ABC radio
- SBS radio
- MIXX FM
- Triple J
- Bondi Radio
All stations on iHeartRadio are available to stream Australia-wide, meaning you can tune into Melbourne's Gold 104.3 while on holiday in Western Australia or listen to 96FM Perth during a work trip to Sydney.
While iHeartRadio boasts a library of over 20 million songs from more than 450,000 artists, Aussies can't stream any of them on-demand just yet since neither iHeartRadio Plus nor iHeartRadio All Access have launched Down Under. Still, you can browse this library and use any of the tracks as a prompt for iHeartRadio to build you a custom radio station.
It's also worth mentioning that the free iHeartRadio tier restricts you to skipping a maximum of six songs every hour per station, up to a total maximum of fifteen skips per day across all stations.
What devices are compatible with iHeartRadio?
Oddly, iHeartRadio is only available on mobile and desktop platforms in Australia, despite supporting a wide variety of other devices in the US. That leaves Aussies to choose between tuning in through the iHeartRadio website on their PC or Mac, or through the mobile app on iOS and Android.
To stream from the iHeartRadio website, PC and Mac users will need to be running Internet Explorer 11 or higher, Mozilla Firefox 38 or higher, Google Chrome 42 or higher, or Safari 8 or higher. For the mobile app, iOS owners will need an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch running iOS 9.0 or later, while Android users will need to check whether their smartphone or tablet is compatible through the Google Play store.
How much does iHeartRadio cost?
The basic tier of iHeartRadio is completely free and provides access to unlimited live and custom radio stations. This tier is currently the only one available in Australia and New Zealand.
The US-only iHeartRadio Plus and iHeartRadio All Access tiers cost US$4.99 and US$9.99 respectively per month. Australian pricing is likely to hover around the AUD$6.99/AUD$14.99 per month range when the tiers eventually launch Down Under.
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