The streaming radio app TuneIn is continuing to move beyond traditional radio. It's adding a paid offering today that'll give listeners access to over 40,000 audiobooks, 600 commercial-free music stations, and most notably live sports broadcasts from Major League Baseball, with the ability to listen to all home and away MLB feeds. Baseball fans can already subscribe to audio feeds directly through MLB — and at a much cheaper price — which is why this is part of a larger package that TuneIn intends to keep building. It's also offering access to live coverage of Barclays Premier League and Bundesliga games.
Music stations have extra music piped in
TuneIn's Premium package will go for $7.99 per month and is launching today in the US, UK, and Canada, with a global rollout planned over the next few months. Commercial-free radio streams and audiobooks are apparently among the more requested types of content that TuneIn's 60 million users have been asking for. To get commercial-free radio, TuneIn is actually having existing stations provide it with separate streams that have music in place of their ad breaks; the local station still handles the programming, so the additional tracks should fit in with what the station is already playing.
As for why you'd want to pay for commercial-free radio over a dedicated music streaming service, TuneIn says that they're just two different experiences; some people want one, and some may want the other. As TuneIn CEO John Donham sees it, TuneIn is to Spotify as radio is to the CD — the existence of one didn't kill the other. "The experiences are fundamentally different experiences," he tells The Verge, "and we expect the world to continue to look like that."