The iPad streaming music space is as competitive as the desktop streaming music space. Nearly every major player has a dedicated iPad streaming music app that delivers quality audio, so how does a company separate its service from the pack? Clear Channel’s free iHeartRadio iPad app combines Slacker Radio’s station customization with Sirius XM Internet Radio’s live audio feed. In short, iHeartRadio’s iPad app tries to be a music site that appeals to all listeners and, for the most part, it succeeds.
You can opt to log in by creating an account or using your Facebook credentials. The iHeartRadio app has a far less busy design than the desktop version. It consists of top-level station rows—Top Stations Near Me, Top 40 & Pop, News & Talk, Sports, and Personalities—and several individual stations. The My Music icon that resides near the top of the screen displays the last handful of stations that you’ve tuned into. Live radio stations, unfortunately, don’t display artist names, or give you the option to view artist biographies, or lyrics. You also can’t make music purchases.
Still, if you love live radio, you’ll dig what iHeartRadio offers. There are over 1,500 station to explore. Unlike Sirius XM Internet Radio, iHeartRadio lacks the ability to pause or rewind live radio. A scan button causes the service to search for other related stations.
It’s Curated Music
Clicking the “Create Station” icon lets music fans either key an artist’s name into the search box or select one of the featured artists to create a commercial-free station. There are over 400,000 artists, and 15 millions songs in the iHeartRadio catalog. Curated stations, unlike the live radio offerings, display lyrics, beautiful artist photos and bios, and let you purchase songs from either Amazon MP3 or iTunes. You can’t, however, create playlists or use the “Perfect For” feature found in the desktop version that lets you create stations based on mood.
Like Slacker, you can upvote songs to have them play more frequently, or downvote them so that you won’t hear them. The Discovery Tuner, located near the bottom of the screen, lets you adjust the related artists (from “Familiar” to “Less familiar.”) I like that this is easily accessible—Slacker demands that you deep-dive into its options menu to do the same.
This Isn’t Radio
iHeartRadio for iPad has something that its desktop version doesn’t: a Photos and Video section. The photo section is an odd collection of celebrity photos—some of which have nothing to do with music (like the Celebrity Twins group). The video section, thankfully, stays on topic. It contains musicians’ iHeartRadio concert performances (Gym Class Heroes, Maroon 5).
I enjoyed smooth, hiccup-free audio when I streamed music over my home and office wireless signals. iHeartRadio also features AirPlay wireless streaming support.
Will You Heart iHeartRadio?
If you like both live radio and curated stations, yes. iHeartRadio for iPad manages to capture the radio’s spontaneity (complete with ads and annoying DJs), while giving users options to create commercial-free custom stations. Still, those who prefer to hear strictly live radio or just custom stations will find many other dedicated options on the Web.
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Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc