iHeartRadio releases standalone app for kids


iHeartMedia, the company behind the iHeartRadio music streaming service, is now launching a new version of its app called iHeartRadio Family. As you can probably guess from the name, the app is aimed entirely at kids, especially those between the ages of four to eleven. The standalone app was created in partnership with Build-A-Bear Workshop, a popular children’s retailer which will also have its very own radio station in the app.

Aside from the retailer’s station, iHeartRadio Family will feature content from popular artists such as Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, Justin Bieber, Demi Lovato and more. Furthermore, there will be content from hit shows featured on Disney, Nickelodeon and PBS as well as the always-great North Pole Radio now that the holiday season is growing closer. Obviously, the team wants all songs featured in the Family app to be age-appropriate as you can get whatever music you want from its main app.

Having lists of appropriate songs is not really enough for a standalone app which is exactly why iHeartMedia made an effort to redesign the original app’s UI and make it easier for kids to understand. A month ago, the development team hosted a “Bug Bash” event where 30 kids tested the app so that the developers could see and fix problematic behaviors. One thing that was added after the event, for instance, was a countdown graphic that lets kids know if they can skip that particular song or not.

This is one of the first attempts to introduce music streaming to young kids, at least in the form of a standalone app. A major part that iHeartMedia has not yet clarified is how it will approach ads in this kid-friendly app. It could potentially deliver ads from the subscribed content providers such as Disney and Build-A-Bear Workshop but it needs to communicate this better to the parents, especially since the app is marketed as being friendly to young people.