BBC to pull all radio services from TuneIn UK platform

BBC radio stations will no longer be available from TuneIn in the UK via services such as Amazon Echo, Google Home speakers and smartphone apps from the end of August.

The BBC and TuneIn have suddenly failed to reach a data-sharing agreement after 15 years of working together in the UK.

Listeners are now required to sign in to hear BBC Radio stations online, so the BBC is unhappy that TuneIn grants access without registration, and withholds data on who is listening.

Kieran Clifton, Director, BBC Distribution & Business Development explains more to RadioToday: “Our live radio streams are only coming off TuneIn on platforms where an alternative way of listening is easily available.

“We want our programmes, products and services to be the best they can be. And a major way we ensure that is by using meaningful data. Data is more and more important – as it helps us to make more types of programmes we know people like, and equally importantly, identify gaps in our commissioning to ensure we’re making something for all audiences.

“We also use the data collected about what you watch, listen to or read online to offer personalised programme recommendations – and make our services even more tailored to you.

“When we make our programmes available via third parties, we ask that those platforms either allow you to sign into your BBC account – or provide us with meaningful data directly. Unfortunately, TuneIn doesn’t do either of these, so we couldn’t reach a data sharing agreement with them.”

BBC Radio services via TuneIn on some devices, where it’s neither technically or economically practicable to demand a sign-in window, will continue for now. These include TuneIn on SONOS speakers and some older connected radios.

Users in the UK listening to BBC Radio via smart devices are urged to download the specific BBC app for each device.

Podcasts will remain on TuneIn, as will all live radio services outside the UK.

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39 Comments
  1. John says

    Oh great! I have 2 echos as a stereo pair. BBC sounds is in mono on Alexa so only comes through the speaker you talk to not both. Tune in works in stereo! The BBC needs to sort that out before taking their ball back?

    1. gplhl says

      Yes. Their quote that they want it to be the best it can be, is not borne out in their skill!
      It’s why I uninstalled it.

    2. Droog says

      Boo hoo

  2. Will says

    Who do the BBC think they are. They’re not a data company

    1. Radio Geordie says

      Its because the BBC want everyone to use the BBC Sounds app.
      No doubt, they’ll be pulling the services off the Radio Player before long citing the same reasons.

      1. discoandrew says

        I hope the BBC don’t pull out of Radio Player, as I like it more than TuneIn. That said, it wouldn’t be a chew for me listening to BBC on my smart phone or PC. My old Squeezebox radio might be a different matter though. Good job I kept my old trusty AM/FM tuner after all 😀.

      2. Dan says

        It’s so they have an idea who’s listening – something the BBC needs to know so it can fulfil its public service obligation to ensure all audiences are being served. BBC Sounds is one way it can do that but the article makes clear it’s not the only way. If TuneIn could just give basic data on who’s listening then there’d be no issue.

    2. Ray Woodward says

      It is their product, their decision (wether you like it or not) …

      1. Herc says

        It’s not their product, they are funded by the licence payer by act of parliament with a duty to provide a service. If you want to watch any other terestrial TV service you are forced to pay.

    3. Ken says

      All companies are data companies.

    4. Ben says

      Every company should be a data company, especially one that spends public money.

  3. Ian Scott says

    The BBC want us to sign-in so they know who is listening?

    What is this? 1984?

    1. Andrew says

      It’s not just the BBC, all of the big media companies do it on their proprietary apps and websites.
      If there was a way of making people log in to receive traditional broadcasts you know they’d all require you to do so! All in the name of “audience research” of course.

    2. Dan says

      No – 2019 where the BBC needs to show that it’s reaching all audiences.

  4. J Bloggs says

    Great, so soon my elderly parents will no longer be able to listen to BBC Radio4 and other BBC radio stations on their google home because they don’t own a smart phone. Thanks a lot BBC!

    1. Joe Smith says

      Do they own a radio?

    2. Stuart says

      I’m sure that TuneIn isn’t the only way to listen to BBC Radio on a Google Home. I don’t know whether it’s an app or a ‘skill’ like Alexa has but it should be simple just to use the BBC one instead

  5. Swipe says

    According to the BBC blog, BBC radio stations will still be available via Google Home and Alexa devices as, by default, they use the BBC directly as their source and not Tunein.

    “Meanwhile, those of you with Amazon Echo speakers or many other devices which support Alexa can access BBC radio stations via the BBC’s Alexa skill. And, if you have a Google Home device, you can listen to our stations using either Chromecast or your voice.”

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/usingthebbc/account/the-bbc-on-voice-devices/

  6. Chris Moore says

    So the BBC want to gather data on who is listening to their services online. Cue the usual dramatic responses.

    1. DELL says

      Everyone else does it all.us cookies on phone laptop ect so what’s the prob

    2. Joe Smith says

      Cue the usual nonsense from you trying to predict the views of others.

  7. David Shaw says

    This is a disgrace, I listen to BBC radio via Bose and Bose use Tunein….

    1. Dan says

      Then blame Bose for not supporting other apps and TuneIn for not providing the basic user data that content providers need. That said, given that BBC stations are staying on the Sonos TuneIn app, you may find that the same applies to Bose’s TuneIn app.

  8. gplhl says

    The BBC Alexa skill does not work on stereo pairs or multi room.
    This is ludicrous. Tune in works.

    “We want our programmes, products and services to be the best they can be”.

    Then sort out your skill to work with stereo and multi room.

    If this goes, it’s the last straw. I use Netflix and other streaming services and can do without the BBC. Didn’t mind paying a licence fee to help support radio.

    1. john says

      That was my point too! I’d forgotten about multi room. What a pain. BBC need to sort this out first

  9. Ray Woodward says

    This confused me a little at first, but its really pretty obvioius. Sort out the UK side of things then in due course once thats done just simply close all the Tune In stuff safe in the knowledge that UK listeners are already catered for …

    (Glad I use the direct full bandwidth file addresses and thus avoid Tune In etc).

  10. Reader says

    Great.

    I use Tunein heavily on the older windows Mobile platform. The BBC sound app has never been available on this platform. Nor on any Windows based platform, including the Microsoft Harmony smart speaker and smart headphones. There also isn’t an app for Windows IOT. They seem obsessed with Android and Apple on phones and are forgetting that other people exist.

    The sound app is also not available on any of my smart TVs, all are from big name brands like Sony and Samsung and are recent models.

  11. Roger Bourne says

    The BBC think they rule the world. Only in Britain do we have to pay for it the rest of the world get it for free. They are peeing themselves over Brexit so many dark secrets to hide. The E U has been paying them millions–for what? They also own TV channels which allow advertising so that won’t wash anymore. Why are they so anti Trump and Boris?? What are they SO scared of ? Every programme they put out tries to radicalise the nation?

    1. Radio Geordie says

      The TV channels are not free outside the UK.
      The BBC channels outside the UK are paid for by advertising. Those that show channels like BBC 1 etc., like in the Netherlands, have to pay for it as its only available via a cable TV system.
      Radio on the other hand…

      1. Lee says

        My mother-In-Law watches all british versions of BBC tv channels for free in Spain. She doesn’t pay for a tv licence, but Ihave too in the UK.

        1. liz says

          She’s not meant to, I mean it’s not legal for her to watch without a licence full stop. Hiwever, whether the BBC could ever find out and if they did what they could or would even do about it is probably null n void.

        2. Stuart says

          If she’s watching BBC in Spain then it’s not by a legit means.

          It’s either an online stream, which they restrict to the UK, or its via satellite. Their transmissions to the home (Sky/Freesat) don’t reach Spain so it’ll be from an encrypted distribution feed, which is encrypted for a reason

    2. Stuart says

      What nonsense. There’s no funding of the BBC by the EU. Their accounts are all published in great detail.

      If they were so pro-EU why would they let Nigel Farage appear on their programmes all the bloody time?

  12. Richard says

    Shh, Top Secret, try the app Radio Garden, should be on there, unless it’s been pulled /blocked!

  13. Nick says

    Typical BBC, no longer about the service they provide but more about the information that can be gathered.

  14. Andrew Steele says

    A clear case of BBC managers making decisions without understanding the technical implications. They have believed their own hype about BBC Sounds assuming it works for everyone when it doesn’t. Multi-room and stereo pairs are both integrated in my listening and now we’ll get an inferior service.

  15. EJW says

    I listen to BBC stations via Sonos. This change will mean that there is no way of listening in to BBC stations using the Sonos app.

    1. Dan says

      …Except that the article clearly states that TuneIn on Sonos is not affected.

  16. Martin king says

    I grouped 2 Amazon speakers so that I can listen to BBC programmes nicely synced whilst preparing and eating meals.
    Recent changes by the BBC mean I can no longer do this. As a senior citizen I am about to have to restart paying the licence fee which seems a bit ironic.

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