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iHeart Highlights New Integrations at CES 2018

Consumer tech event is a good stage to put new features in front of users

2017 was a big year for voice-controlled technologies, and this year is on track to continue that trend, as is evident now in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show, where iHeartMedia has launched new iHeartRadio integrations.

“Consumers are taking advantage of the ease and ubiquity of virtual assistants, smart speakers, set-top boxes and other connected devices, and in doing so, they’re proving that audio is an important part of their day-to-day life,” said iHeartRadio and iHeartMedia Networks Group President Darren Davis in a press release.

Davis said the company plans blend the iHeartRadio experience into the way listeners use the influx of these new smart devices.

iHeartRadio introduced its first bot on Facebook Messenger. People can request to hear music based on a specific genre or geographic location. Users can also choose “iHeartRadio recommends” to hear a random song from one of iHeartRadio’s 10 most popular stations. According to iHeart, the bot is intended to help fans discover songs and artists via a platform where they already interact with friends and other brands.

Through an update, Roku users can subscribe to iHeartRadio All Access, including song playback, unlimited skips, saving and replaying songs from live radio, as well as on-demand playlist playback and access to artists and podcasts from their TV.

iHeartRadio is integrated with the Bixby service. Users can ask Bixby to play specific Live and iHeartRadio Original radio stations, create a Custom Artist station, and set a sleep timer for Bixby to stop playing iHeartRadio after a set amount of time. Additionally, users can ask Bixby to like or skip a song. Bixby is currently available on Samsung Galaxy Note8, Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+.

The addition of Bixby marks the service’s availability on major voice-activated virtual assistants. Recently, iHeartRadio launched a new lineup of Flash Briefings for Amazon Alexa equipped devices featuring iHeartRadio’s most popular shows and personalities, several NBC New Radio category briefings and more. In 2018, iHeartRadio said it also will continue to develop skills for virtual assistants.

iHeartRadio partnered with “social robot for the home” Jibo to launch Jibo Music, powered by iHeartRadio. When activated by voice commands or through the touch screen, Jibo can stream an iHeartRadio Original station. (As a bonus, the robot will dance when Jibo Music launches or when a new song begins playing.)

HeartRadio will be available on the Garmin Forerunner 645 Music, a GPS running watch. iHeartRadio All Access users will be able to download playlists to the watch for offline listening. The company says it’s the first music partnership for the smartwatch.

iHeartRadio is now available to more than a million 4G-LTE connected Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac owners on their digital dashboard. The company said iHeartRadio is the only pre-set music app GM has rolled out via an over-the-air software update to the in-vehicle platform. The app will continue to be pre-installed on new GM vehicles throughout 2018.

Ford will be the first OEM to fully integrate with iHeartRadio’s flagship mobile app, making all features available in car with safety in mind. This upgrade to the Ford SYNC AppLink integration will bring the on-demand music functionality of iHeartRadio All Access into Ford vehicles.