TMCnet Feature
July 11, 2011

Clear Channel Radio App to Gain Customization Functionality, Set to Take On Pandora

By Beecher Tuttle, TMCnet Contributor

Clear Channel (News - Alert) Communications will celebrate the arrival of its new Pandora-like streaming radio app with a two-day concert that features musicians such as Lady Gaga, Steven Tyler, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Lopez.

Set to kick off on Sept. 23 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, the music festival will seek to promote the new version of iheartradio, a website and app that lets users listen to radio stations from across the country. The application will be revamped in the coming months to mirror Pandora (News - Alert) by allowing users to customize their own stations based on their favorite genres, artists and songs.

Bob Pittman, chairman of media and entertainment platforms for Clear Channel Communications Inc., told the Associated Press that his company has a leg up on Pandora because the personalized radio service doesn't need to make any money for it to be a win. 

“To us it doesn't matter if it ever succeeds as a business,” Pittman told the news source. “We only have to have it succeed as a feature.” Clear Channel generated nearly $6 billion in revenue last year, while Pandora continues to struggle to break into the black.

The iheartradio app will provide some significant advantages over Pandora, which just raised more than $230 million in a June IPO. Clear Channel's app will provide access to millions more songs than Pandora and will offer commercial-free listening until at least the end of the year, according to Pittman.

However, one can justifiably presume that commercials will make an appearance sometime in 2012 after the app becomes a bit more popular.

Those who can't make it to Vegas can stream audio and video from the iHeartRadio Music Festival through the app or the websites of Clear Channel's more than 850 music radio stations.

Joining the aforementioned stars with be Coldplay, The Black Eyed Peas, Bruno Mars and John Mayer, among many others. The two-day event will be hosted by American Idol's Ryan Seacrest. With that kind of lineup, Clear Channel shouldn't have a problem raising awareness for the renovated app.

Clear Channel President John Hogan (News - Alert) called the concert “the biggest national promotion in radio history.”

It will be interesting to see how new Pandora investors react to the rival service. Pandora shares were trading more than $4 above the IPO price as of Friday.

Want to learn more about the latest in communications and technology? Then be sure to attend ITEXPO West 2011, taking place Sept. 13-15, 2011, in Austin, Texas. ITEXPO (News - Alert) offers an educational program to help corporate decision makers select the right IP-based voice, video, fax and unified communications solutions to improve their operations. It's also where service providers learn how to profitably roll out the services their subscribers are clamoring for – and where resellers can learn about new growth opportunities. To register, click here.

Beecher Tuttle is a TMCnet contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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