Liz Gannes

Recent Posts by Liz Gannes

TuneIn Creeps Up on Pandora, With 40M Active Listeners

The TuneIn app keeps a low profile, despite being a much-depended-on utility for people who want to listen to audio streams and podcasts on their phones, in their cars, on their TVs and other devices.

TuneIn is now up to 40 million active users, largely in the U.S., up from 30 million in October. That’s a bit behind the far more famous Pandora, which reported 52 million active users in May.

On top of that growth, Palo Alto-based TuneIn has now raised $16 million, led by General Catalyst Partners and including Jafco Ventures, Google Ventures and Sequoia Capital.

Sequoia had previously invested $6 million in TuneIn, and helped move it from Texas, where it was founded in 2002 under the name RadioTime. (For a more detailed look at the company, see this profile I wrote last last year.)

TuneIn does have all sorts of competition, including Pandora, Spotify (which recently launched its own “real” Internet radio service) and iHeartRadio.

TuneIn is free and streams content as-is, complete with its original ads; for a one-time fee of $0.99, users can record unlimited radio.

The big advantages of the TuneIn app are its reliability and the range of content it offers — now up to 70,000 stations and two million on-demand programs.

To get a sense of this, check out TuneIn’s user ratings, which are unusually high for such a popular app: 4.5 stars in both the App Store and Google Play.

TuneIn CEO John Donham told me his big plans for TuneIn are to improve content discovery and to raise the company’s profile. On that front, I’ve seen some TuneIn billboards cropping up alongside the highway in recent months.

“We need to do more to build a household brand name,” Donham said. “A lot of marketing will be to make people aware of all the content they can get.”

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald