TuneIn adds 'premium version' with sports, audiobooks and ad-free music

By James Cridland for
Posted 25 August 2015, 1.10pm edt

TuneIn, the popular internet radio app that many radio stations promote on-air, has announced TuneIn Premium.

The service, which launches today in the US ($7.99/month), Canada ($8.99/month) and the UK (£5.99/month) adds a set of additional content options, including:

  • All Barclays Premier League matches
  • All Bundesliga matches
  • All Major League Baseball games
  • 40,000 audiobooks
  • 600 commercial-free music stations

In a piece in the Columbus Dispatch, TuneIn CEO John Donham is quoted as saying that "ad-free listening is initially tailored to 600 Internet radio stations. Terrestrial radio stations in the U.S. and abroad are planned to be added in the next few months" - so TuneIn appears to be planning to offer a commercial-free stream of existing radio stations. Using the service, .977 stations are available with an ad-free version.

"When a DJ cuts to a commercial break, TuneIn knows how long an ad break will be, and for paying subscribers, it will insert a song of roughly the right length that would fit the station's genre. Plugging the ad break of terrestrial stations with a song is a technical problem that will take a little more time to work out," he says.

TuneIn will continue to offer over 100,000 streaming radio stations, and 5.7 million on-demand programmes and podcasts, says an email to partner stations that has seen.

The Barclays Premier League and Bundesliga match coverage are, can confirm, from the UK's talkSPORT. UTV's national sports station have international audio rights, and have worked with TuneIn in the past. They recently announced their Bundesliga coverage in a new non-UK programme. talkSPORT do not have exclusive rights in the UK for the EPL, and TuneIn Premier's page notes that their EPL coverage is subject to 'restricted use'.

The company is offering a 30-day free trial.

It is, perhaps, slightly churlish to point out that if you're a fan of paying to get rid of the ads, offers a pro account that gets rid of the ads too.

My thoughts

I tweeted, relatively obliquely, on the 31st March that TuneIn was running some tests of services called "TuneIn Premium Music Radio Stations". After I tweeted a link to the stations, they disappeared. A TuneIn spokeswoman responded at the time that "We are constantly experimenting and testing in various locations."

Is a Silicon Valley radio aggregator really radio's best friend? I've heard radio stations promoting TuneIn as a way of tuning in since it was launched in 2002. It's always been a head-shaking moment for me. I've always felt it rather naïve for radio stations to think that TuneIn was their fairy godmother.

It's unlikely that this will have a positive effect. It is clear that the TuneIn music services will be a further erosion to music-intensive radio; and that the sports rights will also have an effect on sports stations: not least, ensuring that match commentary is all in one place.

It should be noted, however, that talkSPORT's involvement is another canny move for the UTV-owned broadcaster.

The success of country-specific services like Radioplayer - owned by the very radio stations it serves - shows where the industry should be going. A great user experience, with radio stations working together, is a great opportunity for the radio industry as a whole. Unlike TuneIn, Radioplayer has the capability to encourage trial, to grow revenues, to sell display advertising as one radio network sell, and even to overcome the hassle of multiple signin. The industry should be redoubling its efforts and providing additional funding to make it the very best product possible.

James Cridland — James runs, and is a radio futurologist: a consultant, writer and public speaker who concentrates on the effect that new platforms and technology are having on the radio business. He also publishes a free daily newsletter about podcasting, Podnews, and a weekly radio trends newsletter.


5 years, 8 months ago

My Problem with RadioPlayer is it's elitist way of doing things... Stations must pay a fee to be on it in the first place & you must be a terrestrial broadcaster.

Login or register to comment
It only takes a second with your Google or Facebook account.