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Conal Byrne, CEO Of iHeart Digital Audio Group: ‘We’re Just Getting Started’



At its core, iHeart Media “is a printed radio industry with huge attain,” mentioned Conal Byrne, CEO of the iHeart Digital Audio Group. 

That extend garners the eye of 9 out of 10 American adults every month throughout 850+ radio stations and an in depth array of podcasts. 

As CEO of the Digital Audio Group, Conal oversees the community of just about 1,000 presentations, which amass greater than 250 million downloads per thirty days. His duties come with managing a various group of greater than 50 podcast manufacturers and myriad different group participants positioned during Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles. 

An innovator by means of nature, Conal used to be CEO of the podcast community Stuff Media when he introduced the HowStuffWorks (HSW) podcast 10 years in the past. A number of years later, the corporate used to be received by means of iHeart, thereby laying the steppingstones that experience resulted in his present function.

Conal grew up in Berkeley, CA pre-Silicon Valley, when podcasting and virtual media have been nearly non-existent. Undecided of the pro route he’d pursue, he made up our minds to “hedge my bets and learn about the whole thing till I in finding my position.” He opted for pre-med and liberal arts in undergrad, intent on staying open to the probabilities and successfully bridging the distance between the 2 spaces of analysis.   

He earned two levels, graduating first from Georgetown College magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in English, after which summa cum laude from Columbia College in New York Town with a grasp’s stage in literature.

His enjoy with conventional schooling shifted his standpoint on its gadget, and now, he stocks the next existence recommendation along with his personal youngsters, ages seven, 9, 14, and 16:

“You’ll paintings in a task this is in a medium that’s not invented but. Duration. To arrange for a task like that, it’s maximum vital to be just a bit extra open than the following man. That’s it. Then, stay up for the moments on your existence and profession when a window opens as much as disclose an entire new trail. On that new trail, some other door might rather well seem, revealing but some other entire new trail… and that cycle can proceed till you land precisely the place you’re intended to.” 

After school, Conal served as senior vice chairman of virtual media for Discovery Communications, the place he ran virtual for all of Discovery’s networks within the U.S. and led the release of Discovery VR ahead of his paintings at Stuff Media and next transition into iHeart. 

In 2021, iHeart Media’s President, Leader Working Officer, and Leader Monetary Officer Chairman Wealthy Bressler and Chairman and Leader Government Officer Bob Pittman made up our minds to create 3 running segments inside iHeart Media so they can communicate extra brazenly to analysts and traders on Wall Side road: a central products and services phase; the multi-platform crew, which is largely a printed radio phase that continues to be “the thrust of the corporate and lots of the earnings”; and the virtual audio crew, of which they named Conal CEO. His paintings used to be reduce out for him, as “Podcasting has overruled 100% enlargement quarter over quarter—signifying insanely robust, constant, and sustainable enlargement,” Conal defined. 

The virtual audio crew encompasses extra than simply podcasting—it additionally contains the iHeart radio app, with its personal important person base “that is in a position to ship reside radio streaming, on-demand song, streaming, and podcasting at that more or less a scale,” mentioned Conal. “There’s no different app I do know of that does it. After which you’ve gotten this large extension throughout 1000 web pages… 1000 social accounts working our masses of radio stations—virtual personalities, if you’re going to, all around the nation. All this allowed us to come back out of 2021 actually robust, and that’s the place we stand nowadays.” 

Defining podcasting as “spoken phrase or communicate content material on call for,” Conal feels a duty to verify the shaping of the medium that has already came about in its first 10-15 years “hardens, so it’s arrange for the following hundred years in one of the best ways conceivable.  

“Podcasting is continuously broadening the scope of what it may well surround,” he mentioned, “and I feel you’ll see it actually unfold its wings wider and wider around the subsequent 5 to ten years.” 

Compelling knowledge—i.e., 120 million American citizens concentrate to podcasts each month—suggests this would be the case, however Conal issues to the numbers at the back of the numbers as much more spectacular:

“Bring to mind the choice of podcasts in the market that haven’t even been discovered but. Such a lot of people get our content material from the ‘common’ puts, just like the web, Fb, YouTube, and Google. Those platforms have the process of surfacing the most productive content material conceivable for the hunt performed. This is actually what Google seek is supposed to do, and it does an implausible process of it… higher than any seek engine on this planet.

 However the ones very puts had been in large part lacking from the podcast business. And that’s going to begin to exchange—we’ve already began seeing it with Fb as they lean into podcasts and RSS feeds that let creators to drag their feed onto their profile. Now, other people can concentrate to that display on Fb itself. And about 3 years in the past, Google seek started making it very publicly identified that they have been turning their points of interest towards podcasts, too.

 “The entire level right here is this medium has hit the ones mass-reach target audience numbers with out the assistance of the standard resources of content material, and that’s peculiar. Obviously, it’s doing one thing proper in its personal volition, to pressure that more or less target audience. We’re actually simply getting began.” 

One house Conal wish to see support throughout the house is one with reference to each podcaster’s center: discoverability. 

 “However we shouldn’t lose sight of the truth that that is in reality the most productive drawback to have in any medium. Podcasting hit its ‘height content material’ factor in no time. The adage, ‘There’s speedy, reasonable, and excellent—pick out two’ doesn’t follow to podcasting. You don’t have to select. The barrier to access is so low that the medium briefly speeded up the standard and amount of the content material. And thousands and thousands of podcasts are launching yearly. So, right here we’re with ‘height content material’ in podcasting, and the invention and advice engines need to catch up once more. The strategies of distribution and discovery for podcasting didn’t evolve as speedy because the choice of podcasts getting introduced.

“Sure, this can be a problem. The strategies of discovery are our bottleneck. It’s the homepages of apps and/or the promoting platforms for puts like, moderately frankly, iHeart. And we do have an unfair merit. We can put any podcast to your radar, and we will be able to make it exhausting in one of the best ways—that means, we will be able to make it exhausting to reside in the USA and no longer find out about a podcast that simply introduced that we wish you to find out about. If we select to attempt all our advertising towards somebody, whether or not that’s Will Ferrell for The Ron Burgundy Display or a wholly new voice, it’s completely an impressive software to deploy.” 

Conal used to be fast to recognize the growth that is being made, as neatly. Take, for instance, the seismic shifts that experience came about in Google seek. Seek for the rest, he says, and append that seek with the phrase “podcast”—you’ll now see a podcast “module” floor with podcast content material across the subject. 

“Whilst it’ll appear to be a small step,” Conal added, “the truth is that the most important seek engine platform on this planet has begun turning its points of interest towards the podcasting medium. This implies podcast discovery is on their roadmap, and that’s one of the crucial tactics we resolve the issue.” 

Any other factor Conal addressed is that of the “false selection” difficult the podcast ecosystem nowadays, wherein creators face both cashing out and taking a large advance with a minimal ensure—thereby going at the back of a paywall or subscription platform and decimating their target audience—or making an attempt to construct a industry and spouse with an organization targeted at the long-term… like iHeart Media. 

“This selection has pushed the podcast business to binary extremes, which I don’t suppose is wholesome for the medium. Presently, there are such a large amount of nice creators—probably the most best possible storytellers and conversationalists to have ever walked the face of Earth. They usually’re cashing out and going at the back of paywalls, which goes to harm, if no longer ruin, their manufacturers. It hurts the business, as neatly, as a result of we’re a billion-dollar business, and each transfer issues. It creates bumps within the highway, as a result of implausible creators are getting at the back of a fashion that doesn’t actually paintings. There’s no scale at the back of a paywall to promote it. It doesn’t even appear to paintings at the platforms that do it. It doesn’t in truth pressure subscribers, no less than within the knowledge we’ve observed thus far.” 

Whilst Conal seems ahead to what the way forward for the medium brings to mitigate a lot of these problems inherent to the gap, he’s much more eager about the innovation heading our manner: 

“A few yr and a part in the past, we went via a ‘second.’ COVID hit, and it used to be indubitably difficult to briefly transfer 500 to at least one,000 presentations to far flung manufacturing and stay other people motivated, hooked up, and artistic. But we noticed our ability keen to take a look at the brand new route, and in the long run, it used to be phenomenally efficient. Nearly talking, the workday extends by means of about an hour on all sides, and there’s little or no go back and forth time competing with conferences and deal-making. So, regardless of the demanding situations, we’re now firing on much more cylinders than I feel we have been prior to now, and I will be able to’t wait to look how that is affecting 2022. 

“I imagine {that a} silver lining of a actually tough time… along side the truth that we appear to have a brand new, collective type of intentionality round how all of us spend our time and reside our lives that I consider we’ll elevate with us way past COVID.” 

“We will reinvent once more how other people bring to mind, eat, and proportion audio,” Conal mentioned. “As it’s now in every single place, proper? Sensible audio system are in each room of my space. This generation has redefined my very own existence, so we’re going to capitalize on those developments and be leading edge about it, rolling out new merchandise that leverage this development.

“So, buckle up! Alternate is coming. When you suppose the final 15 years had been fascinating, simply look forward to the following 10… they’re going to blow that away as we pass from over a hundred-million American citizens paying attention to podcasts each month to 200 million, which can be fact within the blink of an eye fixed. It’s going to be so thrilling.”

Conal lives in Atlanta along with his spouse and youngsters. In his loose time, he writes and data song, helps up-and-coming indie movie administrators, and tries to stay alongside of his youngsters.

He says he lives a blessed existence, sharing how he has to “pinch himself” across the alternative to paintings below “legends” like Bob and Wealthy, realizing he has their complete beef up. 

“It’s very unswerving, constant, dependable, and sustainable, and that type of ‘get your cake and devour it, too’ alternative could be very uncommon. There’s actually no longer an afternoon that is going by means of that I don’t get up and really feel extremely thankful.”



January 2022

The submit Conal Byrne, CEO Of iHeart Digital Audio Group: ‘We’re Just Getting Started’ gave the impression first on Podcast Mag®.

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Darius Rucker New Album ‘Carolyn’s Kid’ w/ Ed Sheeran ‘I Hope I Get to Compose With Ed Again’




Carolyn’s Boy releases Oct. 6.

Darius Rucker is opening up about his career and his latest album, Carolyn’s Boy, which releases Oct. 6.

In an interview with Tetris Kelly for Billboard News, the nine-time Country Airplay chart-topping artist discussed how he decided on the title of the new project, which honors Rucker’s late mother.

” It was during the pandemic and we were writing the record, and I was having a bad day,” Rucker recalls. “I just said to myself, ‘At the end of the day, I’m just my mama’s boy,’ so I decided I was going to name it Carolyn’s Boy after that. She was such a big influence on me and she was so important in my life. It was time for me to do something special like that.”

Rucker also recalled some of the career moments he wishes his late mother had been there to see, including when Hootie & & The Blowfish won their first Grammys in 1995, for best new artist, as well as best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal for “Let Her Cry.”

” I wish to God she could have seen me win my first Grammy,” Rucker said, adding, “We used to watch the Grammys as a family when I was a kid, and that was a moment that really hit me. … Just thinking, ‘God, I wish my mom was here to see this.'”

On Carolyn’s Boy, which marks Rucker’s first solo project in six years, Rucker co-wrote the song “Sara” with pop singer/songwriter Ed Sheeran.

” That kid is such an amazing songwriter and such a good guy,” Rucker said of Sheeran, adding, “You’ll sing a line and he’ll sing it back, and he’s singing it differently and singing different words … but it’s just better so you just go with that. I hope I get to write with Ed again; he’s awesome.”

Rucker also spoke about country music’s moment of holding the top three spots on the Billboard Hot 100 just weeks ago, saying, “Country music is taking over. For me, I think it’s great to see. To have the top three spots in the Hot 100 and all the touring everyone is doing and doing well out there, it’s great to see. Country is not rock’s little sister anymore; country’s standing up for itself and on its own. I love being a part of it. You see a lot of great things happening in country music, from those guys doing that, and then you see all these African-American artists getting record deals and stuff like that, country seems to be moving on up.”

The Grammy winner also reflected on his own experiences as a Black artist launching a career in country music.

” It’s been awesome and crazy. When I first came to Nashville, I didn’t even think I ‘d get a record deal,” Rucker said. “Then we did and we go on a radio tour. There were people saying they didn’t think their audience would ever accept a Black country singer. We proved them all wrong and my success turned into Kane [Brown] and all those other guys getting a shot and blowing it up. I love it, I love watching it. Chapel Hart and all these great groups that are coming out right now.”

Rucker also spoke of transitioning from creating rock music to country music, saying, “It was different because the genres are so different, but country music, especially the artists, are just so welcoming. Rock ‘n’ roll and pop, a lot of times … a lot of people, they make it a competition. It seems like, for me, in country music, everybody thinks there’s room for all of us, if you’re good.”

Next year, Rucker will take his music overseas, with a slate of tour dates in the U.K. and Ireland.

Watch his full interview above.

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RIAA Licensed Gold! Riley Clemmons “Fighting For Me” Capitol CMG




Last Thursday, Capitol CMG presented multi-talented artist and one of People Magazine’s Emerging Artists Riley Clemmons with a plaque recognizing the Gold certification of her single, “Fighting For Me,” alongside co-writers Jordan Sapp and Ethan Hulse and producer Jordan Sapp at an intimate album release party. This milestone marks a first for Riley, who has amassed over half a billion global streams and 85 million YouTube views since the beginning of her career. ” Fighting For Me” was released as the lead single for Riley’s sophomore album, Godsend, and quickly became her top performing song with over 160 million worldwide streams.

” Truly, I’m just so excited and completely overwhelmed with gratitude,” shares Riley. “” Fighting For Me” was written from such a deeply personal place, so watching it resonate with so many people has been surreal. My entire team surprised me with the Gold Record plaque, and I cried like a baby. It was such a special moment. I’m so grateful for every single person on the team that worked to make this milestone possible.”

Left to Right: Ethan Hulse, Riley Clemmons, Jordan Sapp

Last week, Riley released her long awaited third album, Church Pew, to great critical acclaim. The 11 songs on the album tackle topics of self-discovery, heartbreaking loss, grief, and ultimately triumphant joy and share a full picture of who Riley has become since releasing her first album in 2018. Out of the gate, Church Pew has made waves across all streaming platforms with inclusion on major playlists such as Spotify’s New Music Friday, Apple Music’s Today’s Christian, Amazon Music’s Divine Sound, and a Pandora Takeover. Additionally, YouTube selected Riley for their coveted billboard in Nashville in honor of the release. Church Pew is now available HERE

Riley Clemmons is a rising artist from Nashville, TN who has accumulated over half a billion global streams and 85 million YouTube video views since the beginning of her career. After spending years refining her craft in writers’ rooms, Riley sky-rocketed onto the scene with her 2017 Capitol CMG debut single “Broken Prayers,” which has generated over 56 million global streams since its release. Her 2018 self-titled album debut quickly entered the Billboard Heatseekers chart, debuting at No. 13 and resulting in a New Artist Of the Year nomination and coveted performance spot at the 50th GMA Dove Awards. Riley released her much-anticipated sophomore, Godsend, in 2021 which cemented her place as an artist to watch with accolades from Rolling Stone and People Magazine as well as performances the TODAY Show, FOX & & Friends, and debut at the Grand Ole Opry. The Gold Certified lead single, “Fighting for Me,” became her top performing song with 160 million worldwide streams and “For The Good” has received over 40 million global streams to date. In 2021, Riley was nominated as Female Artist of the Year at the 9th Annual K-LOVE Fan Awards making her the youngest nominee in the show’s history and Billboard named her one of the top Christian Artists for the year ending 2022. An accomplished composer, performer, producer, and recording artist, Riley draws inspiration from her life and faith, pulling from musical influences ranging from her hometown of Nashville to classic southern gospel, creating music that is as inspiring as it is honest.

The post Riley Clemmons “Fighting For Me” RIAA Certified Gold appeared first on TCB


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Soundtrack‘The Sound of Music’ Deluxe Expanded Reissue Coming Soon! 




New expanded, remixed and remastered editions of the album are on the way, including a Super Deluxe version with over 40 previously-unreleased tracks.

The chart-topping film soundtrack to Rodgers & & Hammerstein ‘s The Sound of Music will be reissued on Dec. 1 in an array of new expanded, remixed and remastered formats. Among them: a lavish Super Deluxe Edition boasting over 40 previously-unreleased tracks– 11 of which are never-before-heard alternate takes from the 1965 blockbuster movie.




StarKid, Captain America & &’ Oklahoma! ‘Meet Atop Billboard’s Cast …



One of those alternate takes is an unreleased rendition of the film’s opening number “Prelude/ The Sound of Music,” by the film’s star Julie Andrews, and cast. The song is now available to stream and download (Sept. 27)– listen below.

And, for the first time, all of the Academy Award-winning film’s music– including every musical element from the movie– will be included on the Super Deluxe Edition of the album. Among those classic songs: “My Favorite Things,” “Do-Re-Mi,” “Edelweiss,” “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” and “Climb Ev’ry Mountain.”


The Sound of Music soundtrack spent two weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart in 1965 and was a near-constant presence in the top 10 from the spring of 1965 through the spring of 1967. It spent a staggering 109 weeks in the top 10– the most of any soundtrack in the chart’s history. In 2015, Billboard ranked The Sound of Music as the most successful soundtrack of all time on the chart.

The Super Deluxe Edition of The Sound of Music will be available as either as a four-CD/one-Blu-ray audio boxed set or as a digital download album. The Blu-Ray audio disc contains the film’s full score in hi-resolution audio, as well as a new Dolby Atmos mix of the original 16-track soundtrack released in 1965.

The boxed set features new liner notes written by film historian and preservationist Mike Matessino, who remixed and remastered the album from the original multi-track tapes.

The Super Deluxe Edition is one of multiple new iterations of The Sound of Music that Craft Recordings will release on Dec. 1. (Craft is the catalog label for Concord.) The Sound of Music will also be reintroduced in a Deluxe Edition (on two-CDs) and a three-LP vinyl collection (including a “Picnic Meadow Green”- colored vinyl pressing limited to 500 copies worldwide). A standard edition of the album will also be refreshed, where the original 16-track 1965 soundtrack will be reissued digitally in standard digital, HD digital and in a Dolby Atmos mix. (The standard digital album will also be available in multiple non-English-language editions, including Spanish, German, French and Italian).


” It’s been wonderful to collaborate across all of Concord’s divisions to help bring this historic and culturally significant reissue to light,” says Sig Sigworth, president, Craft Recordings and chief catalog officer, Concord, in a statement. “This deluxe edition has been years in the making, with Craft Recordings working in concert with Concord Publishing and Concord Theatricals (home of The Rodgers & & Hammerstein Organization). We’re delighted that The Sound of Music fans around the world, old and new, will be able to enjoy the iconic soundtrack in a brand new listening experience, more than a half century after its original release.”

Imogen Lloyd Webber, SVP at Concord Theatricals on behalf of The Rodgers & & Hammerstein Organization adds: “This reissue of The Sound of Music, lovingly– and painstakingly– curated by the team at Craft with collaboration from so many at Concord, alongside Mike Matessino, is a landmark moment in the history of the title. It is a truly fitting tribute to the last of the Rodgers & & Hammerstein musicals and one we hope fans across the world will treasure for years to come.”

For a full recap of the tracklists for each variant of the album, visit the Craft Recordings website A summary of the new iterations is below:

The Sound of Music Soundtrack 2023 Reissues:

Super Deluxe Edition (4-CD/1 Blu-Ray boxed set)
100 tracks on the CDs, 62 tracks on the Blu-Ray audio disc.

Super Deluxe Edition (Digital Download Album)
84 tracks

Deluxe Edition (2-CD)
46 tracks

Deluxe Edition (3 vinyl LPs, plus a “Picnic Meadow Green” color variant triple LP limited to 500 copies worldwide)
46 tracks

Original 1965 Release (Standard Digital [inclusive of multiple international language versions such as Spanish, German, French and Italian] & & HD Digital)
16 tracks

Original 1965 Release (Dolby Atmos)
16 tracks (all in 2023 Stereo Mixes)

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