BBC Sounds

BBC Sounds is a streaming media and audio download service from the British Broadcasting Corporation that includes live radio broadcasts, audio on demand, and podcasts.[4] The service is available on a wide range of devices, including mobile phones and tablets, personal computers, cars, and smart televisions. Media delivered to UK-based listeners does not feature commercial advertising.

BBC Sounds
BBC Sounds homepage in March 2019
Initial release25 June 2018 (2018-06-25)
Written inJavaScript, Scala, Swift, Kotlin[1][2]
PlatformWeb, iOS, Android
Available inEnglish, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish[3]
TypeMedia player software

The BBC Sounds website replaced the iPlayer Radio service in October 2018. An initial beta version of the BBC Sounds app was launched in June 2018[5], with both the new app and the iPlayer Radio app supported until September 2019, when the iPlayer Radio app was finally decommissioned in the UK[6]. At present the Sounds apps are only available to users in the UK, whilst iPlayer Radio remains available to international users. An app for Connected TV's will be released in 2020.

BBC Sounds differs from iPlayer Radio by acting as a place for original podcast material created by the BBC specifically for the app, as opposed to catch-up listening of its linear radio services. One example of this is the Beyond Today podcast, a daily online-only podcast produced by the Today team, exploring an issue in-depth with a younger audience in mind[7].

The new service has caused controversy amongst some former users of the iPlayer Radio app, who claim that the functionality does not have the same features as before, and that the new app is not supported for older versions of smartphones. Some broadsheet newspapers have claimed that these changes disproportionately affect older listeners, particularly those who listen to speech and comedy content on Radio 4[8][9]


BBC Sounds on the web was built from the ground up in the Node.js, React, Redux, and Express.js programming languages.[1] The mobile applications were written in Swift for iOS, and in Kotlin for Android. Again these were written from the ground up. The apps were released on 26 June 2018,[10] before the website had any Sounds branding, in order to gain early feedback.

App features include the ability to look up station schedules, download and share media,[11] rewind live radio,[12] and listen in-car via either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.[13]

Both the website and the apps are served with data from a single set of APIs called Radio and Music Services, or RMS,[14] microservices built in the Scala programming language. This single source of data replaces a large number of different services that powered earlier incarnations of the radio products.[15]

See also


  1. "How we built BBC Sounds on the web". Medium. 20 November 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  2. "Building the BBC Sounds Mobile App". Medium. 6 December 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  3. "BBC Sounds homepage language switcher". British Broadcasting Corp. November 2018.
  4. "New podcasts, exclusive music mixes and classic BBC comedy and drama now available". BBC. 30 October 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  5. "Introducing the first version of BBC Sounds". BBC. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  6. "BBC Sounds Help - Why has the BBC closed the iPlayer Radio app?". Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  7. "Introducing the first version of BBC Sounds". BBC. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  8. Runcie, Charlotte (11 September 2019). "Long live iPlayer Radio because BBC Sounds is awful". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  9. Letters (20 September 2019). "With the new Sounds app, the BBC is ignoring its own audience | Letters". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  10. "Introducing the first version of BBC Sounds". About the BBC. 26 June 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  11. "BBC Sounds Help - How do I download on the BBC Sounds app?". Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  12. "Restart and rewind live radio with major update to BBC Sounds app".
  13. "BBC Sounds Help - BBC iPlayer Radio app - Android Auto and Apple CarPlay now supported in the UK".
  14. "Building BBC Sounds in the API". Technology & Creativity Blog. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  15. Sharpe, Stuart (6 December 2018). "Building the BBC Sounds Mobile App". BBC Design + Engineering. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
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