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More than just a music app, TuneIn sees growing opportunities in sports, talk show streaming
A radio application, TuneIn, announced Monday that it raised $16 million in new funding to help build out its programming and expand its user base of 40 million.
Music applications are extremely popular on the Web as well as on mobile devices. From Pandora and Spotify to Last.fm and Rdio.
The new funding round was led by General Catalyst Partners, with participation from Jafco Ventures, Google Ventures, and prior investor Sequoia Capital. This round brings TuneIn's total funding raised to $22 million.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company, founded in 2002 is definitely one of the more prevalent and universal apps, which offers its service on more than 200 different devices. With more than 70,000 live-streaming stations from around the world and 2 million on-demand programs., TuneIn is continuing to grow at a steady clip around the globe, with more than just music in mind.
With at least 300 livesteams or on-demand programs each day, TuneIn also allows listeners to follow sports and other talk shows broadcast around the world. In In just three months, TuneIn even added 10,000 live streams to its catalog and tripled its users to 40 million.
Much like its competitors, TuneIn makes money by selling ads.
“Our mission is to deliver the best listening experience possible, and it is so meaningful to us that 40 million people have chosen to listen to the world – every month – through TuneIn,” says TuneIn’s CEO John Donham in a statement today. “This investment will help us fulfill our mission while increasing our headcount and growing our product development and marketing initiatives.”
TuneIn also believes that despite the large number of stations it already offers, there is still room to grow because there are many sporting activities such as tennis tournaments and race car events that are broadcasting play-by-plays but don't get picked up by general radio stations for lack of audience or time.
There is also a lot of opportunity for individual radio stations to gain better analystics on their listeners to help grow and audience or cater better to listeners than with traditional terrestrial radio, and as more car radios get smarter and partner up with smartphones and apps, the possibilities keep on growing for companies like Tune In.
One of TuneIn's biggest music app competitors, Spotify, announced last week that it's paying user base just grew to 4 million.
Just ten months ago, Spotify had roughly 4 million users, half of which were paying the premium monthly membership fee and now the service has 15 million active users and more than 4 million of them are paying for the ability to listen to almost any song on various devices.
So, while the percentage of paying users has dropped from 50% to about 27%, doubling paying members is impressive growth for less than a year.
The streaming music company also just released an update for its Android app that added a mobile radio function to give current and new users even more options.
Spotify launched its free mobile radio service for iOS in June, allowing users to create stations based on a selected song, artist, or album. The Pandora-like offering continues to add value to the Spotify brand, which got an exceptional boost when it integrated with Facebook and was one of the cornerstone services for the Facebook Open Graph -- letting people see what their friends are listening to and increase music discovery.
Competitors like iHeartRadio, Pandora and Rdio now are at a disadvantage because they only offer the station creation service and do not let users play any song they want on-demand.
While paid users get uninterrupted listening enjoyment, free users can listen as long as they like with advertisement interruptions.
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