Aiming to become the ‘Twitter of music’ is dangerous territory, given that even Twitter didn’t have much success with its attempt to become the Twitter of #music. But a major revamp of radio aggregator TuneIn is still interesting, as it figures out how to make digital radio listening more social.
In this case, that means introducing a Twitter-like follower model, where TuneIn users can follow stations and individual shows, as well as Facebook friends and phone contacts. The result is a news feed of new shows and updates, with TuneIn keen to explain that some of the bigger broadcasters already have big audiences on its service – 1.9m people following the BBC’s Radio One, for example.
This isn’t just about music, of course: TuneIn’s partners include CNN, NPR, ESPN Radio, The Economist and The Weather Channel. But TuneIn does continue to provide the ability for people to search for specific songs and quickly find stations that are playing them (or even about to play them – making it almost on-demand).
“Until now, TuneIn was a search engine for audio. With our launch today, TuneIn transforms into an audio network, the first of its kind for live content,” said CEO John Donham in a statement.
The company has also updated its public stats: it has 50m monthly active users listening to radio through its site and apps, with those users having ‘favourited’ stations more than 100m times in the past. Those favourites will now become follows: “On day one, 95% of our content partners will have more followers on TuneIn than they have on Facebook or Twitter,” said Donham.
Stations will be able to manage their presence on TuneIn through a new Content Creator Profile, and an ‘Echo’ feature to publish the equivalent of status updates on new shows – which can then be pushed to other social networks.
Brands are also part of this relaunch: Lexus and Universal Pictures are getting their own profile pages and sponsorship slots, putting TuneIn into competition (again) with Pandora and Apple’s iTunes Radio for this kind of native radio advertising. This aspect may well be of interest to music advertisers too, albeit those with big enough budgets to sit alongside the brands.
The new design and features are available across TuneIn’s iOS and Android apps, as well as its website.