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iHeart Free: Everything you need to know (Updated 2022)

I heart is different from every other music streaming service on the market in that it allows listeners to stream their favorite local FM and AM radio stations, as well as play songs and albums on-demand from the top artists in the industry. Plus, iHeart Radio is the number one source for podcasts in the world. Is it worth a monthly payment? Read my review of iHeart Radio today to find out!


Nicole Sommer
Last updated: Saturday, 03.June 2023
Author Biography
Hello. My name is Nicole Sommer. I am a big soccer enthusiast and do a lot of reserach around the easiest way to watch soccer on TV and online across the whole globe.
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Due to the increasing popularity of music streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora, listening to music has become increasingly informal and commonplace. Compared to past generations, people today are much more likely to listen to music through their phones or computers.
Today, it is very rare to find somebody purchasing a physical copy of their favorite artist's newest release. If this does occur, it is usually done by a superfan or a record collector going out of his way to acquire a now somewhat niche product. In other words, CDs and records are more the stuff of hobbyists and enthusiasts than they are of common ways for the masses to consume music.
Streaming has become the dominant way to listen to music, especially given the amount of space it saves compared to traditional formats such as CD's or vinyl records. Not only can we save a lot of space, but with streaming we can access any song or album we want, no matter where we are. This is an incredible time to be alive!
There are many different music streaming apps and sites to choose from. Each one has its own strengths and weaknesses. It can be overwhelming to decide on which one is right for you, especially when you take into account the fact that, in order to get the most out of a given streaming app, you may be best-off opting into a monthly subscription based plan - and those plans can add up quickly.
However, it is important to consider what you hope to get out of your music streaming service before making a decision. If you value having the most possible songs at your disposal, you might want to go with Tidal. If you like having tons of personalized playlists curated just for you: Spotify might be your best bet. However, if you find yourself nostalgic for the days when you could just turn on the radio and listen to whatever was playing, you will want to consider iHeart Radio.


The major radio corporation formerly known as Clear Channel has rebranded as iHeart Media Inc. in 2014. This was probably due to a very negative public image, especially with younger demographics - the very demographic that they hoped to win over by shifting the thrust of their efforts from radio to streaming in the 21st century.
Clear Channel first launched the iHeart Radio app on October 7, 2008. It was released for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch. In the first iteration of the app, iHeart Radio only included 12 radio stations across 8 major markets (major metropolitan areas). They continuously expanded over the next few years, releasing an app for Droid smartphones and Blackberry in 2009. It wasn’t until 2010 that iHeart Radio truly began to resemble the app we see today - with thousands of live local radio station streams, as well as customizable and featured artist stations (a la Pandora).
In 2016, iHeart Radio unveiled a new feature: ?Podcasts.? As of today, that feature is now simply entitled ?Podcasts.? In 2018, iHeart Radio acquired Stuff LLC, securing the position of the app as the number one commercial publisher of podcasts according to Podtrac. The company has retained that position since.


The app and the website are visually very similar. In terms of design, they tend to follow one another quite closely and are largely identical, which is somewhat rare for streaming services. This makes both the site and the app very usable and user-friendly.
When you open the app, you will find your recently played artists, songs, and playlists at the top. Next are the radio stations you have saved, your followed podcasts, and customized playlists. The layout of the app is not entirely unlike that of Apple Music?the main difference is that the tabs on iHeart Radio are Library, Radio, Podcasts, and Playlists.
Overall, iHeart Radio is designed to be intuitive. It will not take even the least tech-savvy users long at all to figure out how to use it. It is all pretty straightforward and organized well, making the experience of listening to the radio on your phone, tablet, or laptop as easy as it should be.


One thing that makes iHeart Radio unique from most other music streaming services is the fact that it enables users to listen to their local AM and FM radio stations. Whether you're in a city or rural area, if there are AM or FM radio waves being transmitted, iHeart Radio can likely pick them up.
In addition, iHeart Radio can also be used like Pandora. You can type in an artist and listen to a radio station of their songs with the tracks of similar musicians. You can also create playlists, like or dislike songs to improve your station, save stations, and follow specific podcasts. iHeart Radio provides a completely customizable user experience.

Pricing and Plans

iHeart Radio is a freemium service that allows users to listen to the station without ads and for a limited number of song skips, but in order to fully enjoy the service, users must purchase one of two subscription plans.
The iHeart Radio Plus platform provides users with the ability to listen to their favorite podcasts and music in an unrestricted manner. Furthermore, this service offers on-demand access to songs and albums as well as a "save from radio" feature which makes it one of the cheaper options available.
If you are a more serious listener, you might consider signing up for iHeart Radio All Access. This option offers everything that is offered in Plus, but you also get a couple of things that are not, such as the ability to download songs and listen offline, as well as the ability to create custom playlists.

Suggestions that I Have

Secondly, the algorithmic recommendations that iHeart provides are often quite random. For example, I might end up listening to a song by Taylor Swift because it was recommended to me, but I wouldn't necessarily choose that song if I wanted to explore new music options. Finally, there is very little interaction possible with iHeart Radio. Songs can only be added to playlists and deleted, and no other modifications can be made. IHeartRadio overall is not a bad way to stream music? not by any means. That being said, there are some crucial ways in which this app and site could be improved. Firstly, the playlists are quite small at 40 songs per playlist. Considering the fact that I currently have a Spotify playlist with nearly 4,000 songs (and growing), this is a microscopic number. Secondly, the algorithmic recommendations that iHeart provides are often quite random- for example one might end up listening to a song by Taylor Swift because it was Recommended but one wouldn't necessarily choose that song if one wanted explore new music options. Finally there is very little interaction possible with iHeartRadio- songs can only be added to playlists and deleted or modified not more than that.
First, you will likely have difficulty finding some less mainstream artists on iHeart Radio. If you prefer to listen to a great many underground or unknown artists, iHeart Radio may not be the best service for you.
Thirdly, it would be nice if they offered a digital radio dial on their app, which would allow users to browse stations with an interface that mimics that of a car radio. This would be a fun way to interact with the app and also be a useful way to browse local radio, rather than having to choose from one of the pre-ordained registered radio stations. Just a thought.


In my opinion, IHeart Radio is an excellent music streaming app and site, especially for those who enjoy local radio. It has a wide variety of music, plus the ability to personalize your listening experience. However, if you want to find the widest range of songs and artists available, I would recommend Spotify, Tidal, or Apple Music.
Nicole Sommer
Nicole Sommer is a true soccer fan and loyal supporter of FC Arsenal and 1.FC Köln. She plays actively her self as central forward in the women's aquad of TuS Köln in Germany. In her spare time she spends a lot of time online including researching the soccer streaming space. Her research has been published in several online soccer magazines.
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