The BBC iPlayer Radio app is being killed off, and in its place is an all-new app called Sounds.
Looking like a rival to Spotify and Soundcloud, BBC Sounds is your all-in-one location for everything radio and podcast-related from the BBC.
If you want to listen back to yesterday’s PM it’ll be there, as will Test Match Special, Maya Jama, Annie Mac’s Hottest Record and Kermode and Mayo’s Film Review.
The app is free to download and requires a BBC iD login to use, it’s also important to note that it’s currently in its most basic form, with new features promised over the coming months. Also don’t panic, BBC iPlayer Radio hasn’t completely disappeared, it’ll remain in operation until Sounds has a suitable number of essential features.
What is BBC Sounds?
Available on iOS, Android and Amazon this is the BBC’s new replacement for everything radio and podcasts.
It contains over 80,000 hours of the BBC’s on demand audio content from documentaries to live music recordings and will also become the new home for all of the BBC’s podcasts.
The app has a much cleaner interface than anything we’ve seen from the BBC before. Its uncluttered homepage contains the iconic ‘Radio dial’ that lets you scroll through live radio stations with a Continue Listening section below highlighting the last on demand content you listened to.
What’s really impressive is that because it uses your BBC iD login it remembers what you listened to on other formats whether it’s iPlayer Radio or via iPlayer on the desktop.
How does it work?
The app is split into three sections: Listen, My Sounds and Search.
Listen looks very similar to many of the music apps you probably already use from Spotify to Apple Music. It not only lets you carry on where you left off but also recommends new podcasts or radio shows based on what you’ve been listening to.
So as an example I listen to a lot of electronic and classical music so unsurprisingly the app recommended Radio 1′s Essential Mix and Radio 3 in Concert.
My Sounds is essentially your personal library where everything you’ve saved or subscribed to can be found. Very unfortunately the app doesn’t actually let you download anything yet, although it sounds like that feature is coming very soon.
Instead this is simply a place to find radio shows your saved, and then stream them straight away without having to hunt for them again.
Finally Search is pretty self-explanatory. I’ve been using it for most of the day and it seems to be pretty accurate in finding what I wanted, no matter how obscure the subject matter.
Can it replace BBC iPlayer Radio?
At the moment, not completely. If like me a lot of your listening is done either in a car or on the train then signal isn’t always a readily available commodity. As such the download function on iPlayer Radio is a must.
Sadly without that functionality BBC Sounds is nothing more than an extremely slick and easy to use streaming app. It’s by far and away the replacement that needed to happen, and as the BBC continues to add in all the features that it’ll need I can see this becoming one of my most used apps.