BBC Sounds reaches 1.3m listeners

I’ve slightly fallen off the blogging wheel, as I was reminded recently on Twitter by StephenCWLL. Apologies for that — I got caught up in the launch of BBC Sounds and then … Christmas! I promise to do better this year, and give regular updates.

Last week was our best one to date on BBC Sounds. It may have been ‘Blue Monday’ for many, but Sounds had a record-high 1.36 million listeners, for an average 2 hours 40 minutes.

This best week comes on the back of what’s been a great three months. So far, we’ve seen 1.4 million downloads of the BBC Sounds app, and an average of more than a million listeners a week. We’ve had lots of feedback from our users which has been really helpful. Some critical, some positive, but as with any new digital product, all feedback is invaluable to us as we improve BBC Sounds and launch new features.

We’ve built BBC Sounds from the ground up — with the clear goal of reaching new users and helping them find more content. I find it interesting — and encouraging — that the time audiences are spending with us is growing. Normally, time spent falls as overall use grows, because new joiners tend to be lighter consumers. Sounds is bucking that trend — which may be because audiences are finding more content, the more they use Sounds. Which was the whole point, after all.

Sounds is personalised, where iPlayer Radio isn’t, which means you can subscribe to any show or podcast, so that new episodes arrive directly into the My Sounds feed, and we can make informed recommendations based on the things you’re enjoying.

Sounds also promotes a much wider range of content, including specially commissioned podcasts and music mixes — some of our most popular last week included our brilliant new wellness podcast All Hail Kale with Tim Samuels, the fantastic current affairs podcast Beyond Today, and The 1975’s music mix, in which the band shared some of the tracks that inspired their latest album.

Sounds doesn’t yet have the same features as the iPlayer Radio app. We’ve got some good news here. We’ve added and improved lots of the features that people loved about iPlayer Radio — including showing the things you’ve been listening to recently right on the home screen, plus we’ve incorporated a sleep timer for iOS and Android — and we’ve made it much simpler to use in Sounds. In the next couple of weeks we’ll be adding a share button.

There are still some features that iPlayer Radio has that BBC Sounds doesn’t which we know fans are keen to see. We’ll be adding the vast majority of these in the very near future. We’ll soon be adding Chromecast, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support, plus we’ll be improving categories and adding autoplay functionality to the app.

BBC Sounds is doing well with a growing number of listeners and our independent research is showing us that people are enjoying it — three quarters of users rate it as Excellent or Good. But it’s far from the end of the journey, we’re keen for listeners to keep giving us their feedback on what they’re enjoying about BBC Sounds and what they think could be improved — so please keep sharing your thoughts. We are listening, and will be sharing more information on a regular basis.