Various industry publications and commentators have recently voiced or reported second thoughts about iHeartRadio's role as an aggregator. Specifically, some question the wisdom of going along with Clear Channel's reported exclusivity requirement for joining iHeartRadio.
Clear Channel has recently added hundreds of third-party station streams to iHeartRadio from Greater Media, Cumulus, EMF, Univision, as well as various non-comms and college stations.
Jennifer Lane writes in Audio4Cast that some of these companies "are rumored to have made iHeartRadio their exclusive digital portal." She thinks that's a dangerous move: "Content creators should work with every distribution platform they can to give listeners access in as many ways as they want it." (Find her blog post here.)
That echoes industry journalist Sean Ross, who in late 2011 wrote (more here) "I’m still in favor of station streams being available in as many places as possible," (though with the warning: "aggregation is not curation").
Earlier this month Carleton College "snubbed" an offer from Clear Channel to join iHeartRadio, Radio-Info reported (here). The student station manager said that to join iHeartRadio, the college station "would have to pull its live stream from all other sites" like TuneIn.
Soon after that story broke, an unnamed commercial station executive told Radio-Info's Tom Taylor that his or her station too "had second thoughts about the requirement that we would have to remove our signal from all other Internet services." The executive did not reveal if the station ended up joining iHeartRadio anyway.
Finally, industry commentator Ken Dardis today points to data from Google to argue iHeartRadio isn't as popular, or as easy to find, as you might expect.
"Be careful about getting caught up in hype," he argues (here). "The exclusivity clause offered to new iHeartRadio stations may turn out to be more a shackle for acquiring, than a bridge to exposure."
What do you think? Is going exclusive with iHeartRadio a good idea? Share your opinion by commenting on this article.