As far as music streaming services go, iHeartRadio hits its milestones rather quietly. Recently, the online radio hub hit the 50 million registered users mark — and it did so faster than Facebook, Twitter, and its major music rival Pandora.
Launched just three years ago by Clear Channel, the largest owner of terrestrial radio stations in the U.S., iHeartRadio is growing remarkably fast. In May, the company reported almost 100 million unique visitors. For perspective, Clear Channel’s 850 AM and FM radio stations reach about 245 million listeners each month, according to CNET. The publication also says Pandora brings in about 77 million listeners monthly.
Another impressive note: In a press release, Clear Channel says iHeartRadio has built up 70% brand recognition, a buzzword in the radio industry, over its three-year life. Of course, it certainly helps a brand to have 850 radio stations promoting it, but CEO and Chairman Bob Pittman says it’s not always as simple as that.
“If you look at the history of traditional media companies [in digital media] the heft alone isn’t enough,” Pittman told CNET.
It’s true. In addition to on-air promotions, iHeartRadio has certainly received a boost from real world events like the iHeartRadio Music Festival and the iHeartRadio Music Awards. The company estimates these events have accounted for more than 16 billion social impressions since the very first iHeartRadio Music Festival in 2011.