I consider TuneIn Radio to be one of my most treasured music apps. Not only does it allow me to access thousands upon thousands of radio stations and music feeds around the world through my smartphone, but it also feeds into my Sonos system. I’ve spent hours listening to stations through TuneIn this summer whilst sitting with the English bull terriers in the back yard. They seem to like it, too.
On a more industrial note, Corus Radio (the biggest client for my services) also loves TuneIn. A VERY substantial number of listening to Corus stations is delivered through TuneIn. Other radio companies report the same thing. TuneIn makes Internet radio usable. We’re light-years from the original RealPlayer streams. Yuck.
Wired has this look at the history of the company.
APPLE MUSIC VERSUS Spotify. Spotify versus Pandora. Rdio versus its own buggy app. Based purely on the headlines and the hype, the music world would seemingly belong to on-demand streamers. That’s news to TuneIn, longtime bundler of over 100,000 free, live, streaming radio station broadcasts. It doesn’t just believe in the power of radio; it’s got a plan to convince you to pay for it.
To this point TuneIn has, much like radio itself, been exclusively free. Simply download the app, visit the website, or summon it on your Echo or other connected device, choose a station podcast, and listen. Now, though, the company offers TuneIn Premium alongside that existing free model. For $8 a month, Premium gives users access to 600 commercial-free music stations, over 40,000 audiobooks, and live broadcasts of professional soccer (EPL and Bundesliga) and major league baseball games.
It’s a bold move, a direct assault on the subscription dollars that consumers are pouring into streaming services at rapidly increasing rates. But TuneIn thinks it has something to offer that its rivals can’t: a personal touch.
“TuneIn anchors a human at the other end of the broadcast,” says CEO John Donham. That’s true, at least in some sense, of each of its offerings. The question, though, is if that’s enough.