By Stefanie Flamm
August was an especially busy month for our stores and streaming services, with even some of our more niche partners making big news:
- iHeartRadio’s listener rate is skyrocketing, surpassing 10 million new registered users within the last seven months.
- Shazam is soon to become a household name with the new Fox game show Beat Shazam.
- After its recent acquisition, eMusic is taking another crack at their audiobook subscription service, eStories.
- Spotify targets a fresh new audience with their Kids & Family genre channel.
iHeartRadio is celebrating its five year anniversary with 90 million registered users.
Since their launch in 2011, iHeartRadio has quickly become the
largest radio outlet in the United States. This month, they got to celebrate even more as they reached 80 million registered users; 10 million of which were earned in just the last eight months.
iHeartRadio’s catalogue features over 30 million songs from more than one million artists worldwide. As iHeartRadio continues to grow, they are putting more focus on customizable and curated content similar to Spotify’s Discover Weekly or Apple Music’s For You playlists.
“Radio continues to evolve — and so does iHeartRadio. We know our users want to listen to our broad range of content on the device of their choice — and we also know they want to enjoy amazing stories that have emerged from the recent podcast boom or hear their hometown DJ wherever they travel,” said iHeartRadio President Darren Davis. “For those reasons and more, people continue to embrace iHeartRadio, and it’s reflected in the continued rapid growth of our registered user base.”
Fox has greenlit a new game show that could make Shazam a household name.
After seventeen years and countless advancements in cell phone technology, Shazam is already a widely-known brand. Some may even say it’s taking on the likes of Kleenex and Post-It, with its brand being almost universally synonymous with the action of song recognition. However, this fall might make the brand even more popular, after the new game show Beat Shazam premieres on Fox.
In the wake of American Idol’s final season ending, Fox has been in the market for new unscripted content. Keeping in line with Idol’s musical competition style, Beat Shazam will be the Jeopardy of musical game shows. Shazam already has “Beat Shazam” quizzes on their site, but Beat Shazam will involve a round where contestants compete against each other. The last person standing competes in the final round to beat the app itself.
Fox has not yet announced when Beat Shazam will premiere, or where it is set to fit into their programming schedule, but we’ll be looking forward to testing our own skills alongside those competing on TV.
eMusic is revamping its service by reintroducing its audiobook subscription service, eStories.
After being acquired by Triplay last autumn, eMusic has been on the fast-track to rebranding and retooling their service. One of the many improvements CEO Tamir Koch has been working on is the re-launch of their audiobook subscription service under the new name eStories.
With rating systems, features reviews, and author bios, eMusic’s chief mission is to expose listeners to new books, almost like the audiobook version of the literary site Goodreads.
“We’ve wanted to get into the booming audiobook business for many years,” said Koch. “It is a great companion to our other services and perfectly suited to our technology, digital media experience and ability to offer the same unlimited cloud storage our users have enjoyed for years.”
Boasting a catalogue of over 80,000 titles, eStories is priced at $11.99 per month ($3 a month cheaper than Audible). With apps available for both Android and iOS devices, the revamped audiobook service may bring more attention to eMusic as a whole.
Spotify expands its reach, offering a relaunch of a Kids & Family category to its browse feature.
Spotify is attempting to create a new generation of listeners by re-launching the Kids & Family section of their browse feature. The section now features an array of “Let’s Sing Together” playlists, from “Going on a Drive,” to “Folk for Kids,” to even “Para Dormir” for Spanish-speaking listeners.
The playlists are focused on providing learning and language opportunities for listeners, as well as an opportunity for parents to engage with their children. Sound bites from celebrities such as Tyler Perry, Busy Phillips, and Sarah Michelle Gellar are interspersed between songs to provide games and conversation topics for parents and kids.
The songs on the playlists themselves cover a lot of ground, as well. From tried-and-true classics like The Wiggles, to songs from E.R.A.’s RnB Nursery Rhymes, the playlists are a diverse blend of songs that kids and parents can both enjoy.
The Kids & Family category is part of Spotify’s “social good” initiative in an effort to provide more readily-available educational musical content. Spotify works with the Family Independence Initiative to gain feedback from listeners in their network and award funding to artists who host musical activities for children and families.