BBC launches Sounds app to bring together live and on-demand audio content

Tim Maytom

The BBC has released the first version of an audio app aimed at bringing together live and on-demand content from radio, music and podcasts. BBC Sounds is available on both iOS and Android, and aims to help a new generation discover and navigate the 80,000 hours of audio available in the BBC's digital archives.

The app replicates popular features from existing apps, including the BBC iPlayer Radio app's dial which users can scroll to listen live to any of the BBC's 18 national stations, as well as online-only station CBeebies Radio. Users can also tap 'All Stations' to access any of the BBC's 40 local stations.

A 'Continue Listening' function surfaces part-listened podcasts and radio shows, as well as new episodes of content users have previously enjoyed, and curated collections of podcasts and on-demand music have been created for various moods and interests.

The BBC have described the app as "very much a first release", and plan to add new features as they hear user feedback. While offline listening is currently not available via the app, the team is already working on a download function as well as a number of other prospective features.

"Over the past year or so we've talked a lot about how we need to reinvent the BBC for a new generation," said Dan Taylor-Watt, head of BBC iPlayer & BBC Sounds. "BBC Sounds brings together our live and on-demand radio, music and podcasts into a single personalised app.

"Every user's experience of BBC Sounds will be unique as it's designed to learn from your listening habits, providing one-tap access to the latest episodes of your favourite BBC podcasts and radio shows, and introducing you to new audio you wouldn't otherwise have discovered from the 80,000 (yes, really) hours available."