BBC Sounds

BBC Sounds is a walled garden streaming media and audio download service from the BBC 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
Initial release25 June 2018 (2018-06-25)
Written inJavaScript, Scala, Swift, Kotlin[1][2]
PlatformWeb, iOS, Android, Fire OS
Available inEnglish, Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, Irish[3]
TypeMedia player software


The BBC Sounds logo used from 2018 until 2022.

The BBC Sounds website replaced the iPlayer Radio service for UK users 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] Since 22 September 2020, BBC Sounds has been available to international users; it replaced BBC iPlayer Radio for international audiences at the end of October 2020.[7][8] An app for Connected TVs (including Amazon Fire TV) was released in March 2020.[9] An Apple tvOS app is also in development. BBC Sounds differs from iPlayer Radio by acting as a place for original podcast material created by the BBC specifically for the app in addition to live and catch-up listening of its linear radio services. One example of this is the Beyond Today podcast, a daily online-only 17 minute podcast produced by the Today team, exploring an issue in-depth with a younger audience in mind.[10]

The BBC has also announced plans to make podcasts from third-party producers available within the BBC Sounds service.[11]

At launch the BBC Sounds service caused controversy amongst some users of the former iPlayer Radio app, who claimed that the functionality did not have the same features as before, objected to the login requirements, and raised concerns that the new app was no longer supported on 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 BBC Radio 4.[12][13]


BBC Sounds on the web was built from the ground up with Node.js, React, Redux, and Express.js.[1] The mobile applications were written in Swift for iOS, and in Kotlin for Android. The apps were released on 26 June 2018,[14] 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,[15] rewind live radio,[16] and listen in-car via either Android Auto or Apple CarPlay.[17]

Both the website and the apps are served with data from a single set of APIs called Radio and Music Services, or RMS,[18] 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.[19]

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". BBC Sounds. 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?". BBC Sounds. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  7. "An international update on BBC Sounds and BBC iPlayer Radio". BBC. 22 September 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
  8. "How do I use BBC Sounds if I live outside the UK?". BBC. Retrieved 6 October 2020.
  9. "BBC Sounds launches app for connected TVs". BBC. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  10. "Introducing the first version of BBC Sounds". BBC. 25 June 2018. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  11. "BBC Sounds to carry third-party British podcasts". Pocket-Lint. 20 May 2020. Retrieved 29 June 2020.
  12. Runcie, Charlotte (11 September 2019). "Long live iPlayer Radio because BBC Sounds is awful". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  13. "With the new Sounds app, the BBC is ignoring its own audience | Letters". The Guardian. 20 September 2019. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 October 2019.
  14. "Introducing the first version of BBC Sounds". BBC. 26 June 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  15. "BBC Sounds Help - How do I download on the BBC Sounds app?". BBC Sounds. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  16. "Restart and rewind live radio with major update to BBC Sounds app". BBC.
  17. "BBC Sounds Help - BBC iPlayer Radio app - Android Auto and Apple CarPlay now supported in the UK".
  18. "Building BBC Sounds in the API". Technology & Creativity Blog. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  19. Sharpe, Stuart (6 December 2018). "Building the BBC Sounds Mobile App". Medium. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
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