TuneIn Radio is a major player in the online radio streaming war. Since the launch of Beats 1 radio, the industry has become quite cut-throat with every network wanting a piece of the pie. Among all the major radio networks, TuneIn, with its user base of 75 million active users, has been a deceptively quiet player attracting users without creating any noise. It’s surely heading in the right direction using the silent approach – evident in its massive amount of traffic. Users find value through the TuneIn Radio platform and actively use the platform to listen to live radio from across the globe.
Based in San Francisco, California, TuneIn began its journey back in 2002. Bill Moore, the founder of TuneIn started the venture under the banner RadioTime in Dallas, Texas. Over time, the brand grew and rebranded itself as TuneIn which added a website, mobile app and a smart speaker alongside other supporting devices. The success of the network also translated in its presence in numerous car models – 55 to be precise – which offer TuneIn as a default streaming service.
Why should you stream on TuneIn Radio?
There are many reasons why you should stream on TuneIn. Firstly, it allows you to listen to exactly what you want to hear by browsing local radio, recommended stations, stations for different languages and podcasts. You can pick from categories and have access to radio stations using your location. Apart from that, there are many reasons which rightfully lure you towards the network:
Massive Content Library
TuneIn Radio provides access to 100,000+ live radio stations. And that number is growing with every passing quarter. You can listen to radio streams which cover a wide range of disciplines such as news, sports, movies, music, and podcasts. It has a diverse range of content – from a local podcast to an internationally acclaimed series, TuneIn fulfills the needs of over 60 million active users a month.
When I say plans, there are no more than two – Free and Premium. The reason why the premium plan stands out is that it offers added access. With the premium plan, you get Live NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL Games which are not available on the free network. In addition to that, you also get music without any advertisement if you opt for the premium plan.
Easy access to stations
Accessing different channels on TuneIn Radio is extremely easy. You can stream your favorite podcasts and can even access them by adding them to your favorites. There are many ways in which you can find stations you’re interested in. You can make use of the categories tab or you can use the search bar to access the station.
Intuitive website & app
TuneIn Radio has one of the most fascinating websites. It doesn’t require you to create a user account and thus you can browse through the website without signing up. The color scheme and layout used on the website makes it easier for users to get used to the interface instantaneously.
In addition, TuneIn radio has a great app that allows users to listen to music without any advertisement. Thus, there’s no popup or pre-roll advertisement on the website.
Unhindered user experience
TuneIn does a great job of generating income without thwarting user experience. It generates income using Google-powered display ads and pre-roll audio ads which it runs before the streams. Another way in which it generates income is through its subscription tier – which though under criticism does have a great following.
TuneIn Radio’s website interface will appeal to you in every sense. It is intuitive and it clicks with you and makes you want to cling on to the website. The light color banners and a minimal theme across the website feel truly premium. Right from the header section to the footer, there’s a design synergy that keeps it all together.
The Header section of this website has seven options on the left – Listen Now (Highlighted button) to get you started with streaming. It is followed by Sports, Music, News, Podcasts, Premium, and Download App. On the right, you’ll find Sign in and Sign Up option. The header has a red background which is accompanied by dark blue texts.
The Hero Section on the website maintains the vibe on the header with text on the left and immersive banners in a small window on the right. The banners keep changing with creative texts on the left. For instance, the red banner is dedicated to journalism which indicates news radio networks. When that slides to the left, on comes the blue banner which highlights NBA and sports radio networks. The playful colors and creative text along with slider options make this website one of the best streaming websites on my list.
The body section of the website is where the creative magic happens. As you scroll down, you’ll see a massive search bar as you’re scrolling. You’ll see a text area with ‘Listen Now’ CTA followed by Premium CTA. Once you’re past that, then comes my favorite section on the website – the intuitive categories. These are so brilliantly done that you really feel like stopping and checking the design out. The work is so minimal yet so effective because of the seamless transition between categories – live sports, music, news, podcasts.
The inner pages can be accessed by clicking any of the options on the home page. For instance, if you click the sports category, you’ll be directed to a dedicated sports page. I love how the menus become vertical so you can still access them when needed. Upon visiting the sports page, you’ll find options such as Home, Premium, Local Radio, Recents, Trending, News, Talk, and Podcasts. On the right, you get viewing categories such as Top Sports Events, Schedule, Weekly Top Sports Podcasts, Top Sports talk stations, Top College Football Podcasts and Top NBA, NFL and MLB podcasts. Ain’t that everything you look for in a design?
There are many ways to find content on this streaming site. One particular way is to use a search bar. If you don’t know what you wish to watch, you can rely on TuneIn’s recommendation. Another way to find content is through using the sort feature which allows you to choose ‘By Location’ and ‘By Language’. Thus, if you want to hear a podcast in a specific language from a specific region, you can choose the location and language to get started.
There are more than 100,000 radio stations including local and international. Be it news, music, podcasts, wrestling or pure sports content, you’ll find everything on this platform. You can browse the network for free with display and pre-roll ads. However, with a premium account, you can access commentaries from the world’s top leagues such as MLB, NBA, NHL, NFL, EPL, and Bundesliga. In addition to these leagues, there are over 40,000 audiobooks on the network along with 600 commercial-free stations. With nearly 200,000 shows including original podcasts, you have quality content 24/7 in a heartbeat.
I love browsing this website from the desktop. It’s a seamless experience and it allows me to stream the best content with utmost convenience. If streaming on the desktop is not something you love, you should try it on your mobile phone via the app. The app is as good as the desktop version and can sync pretty well so you can tune in wherever you go.
Advertisements do not hinder the user experience and if you want to go ad-free and access exclusive sports content, you can grab a premium package. What I love the most about the app is that you can add channels to your preset list using the station page. I like the visual appeal as each station has a dedicated album art for the current song (that’s a great amount of data). Apart from that, social sharing is easy thanks to Facebook, Twitter, and Email support.
Lastly, I’d urge you to try the premium version because it adds DVR-like capabilities to your service. You can actually pause, play, rewind and even record the live radio streams. All your recordings are saved in a particular section so you can access them later.
Plans & Pricing
There’s just one plan available on TuneIn Radio and that’s Premium. You can go premium by paying $9.99/month or $99.99/year. With a premium account, you get access to exclusive sports content, commercial-free music and DVR like capabilities such as stream recording, play, pause, and rewind features.
Suggestions I have for TuneIn Radio
Though I loved TuneIn Radio and everything on the platform, I wasn’t impressed with the streaming quality on the premium stations. I mean 64kbps AAC and 128 kbps MP3 is not something you’d accept if you pay $9.99/month. These aren’t an acceptable bitrate in today’s time and that’s evident as the high-end distorts a lot when listening via headphones or loudspeakers. Thus, this is something that I’d like the developers to fix.
Apart from a few premium station letdowns, there’s no denying that TuneIn Radio is truly an amazing service. It is one of the best if not the best streaming radio apps available in the market. Be it local or national radio, you can trust TuneIn for quality content.