Back in May of this year, I mentioned that several Internet radio stations were in the process of being ejected from TuneIn Radio’s directory. At the end of that post, I mused as to what other stations might get culled.
Last night I got the answer. Opening the TuneIn Radio app for the first time in a while on my iPad, I was greeted by a request to allow ‘personalization’, which is code for tracking plus additional adverts shoved in my ears. Needless to say, I clicked ‘no, thanks’ to that. Proceeding to my list of presets, I was annoyed to discover that all the internet-only stations were marked as ‘not available in your region’.
But worse was to come, when I did a browse of the station directory. Most of Europe, including Italy, no longer appears, and North America now consists of just the United States, with Canada having been excised.
I’ve no idea if these changes are related to the court case in the UK that I mentioned in my previous post, and TuneIn’s website offers no clues.
So now I’m left in the position of having a radio player app that is now a lot less useful to me, for reasons that I cannot fathom, with the prospect of it becoming even more intrusive in an attempt to get me to upgrade to their ‘premium’ experience. But as far as I can tell, paying up will only guarantee no extra ads, not the return of the stations that I used to listen to.
I’ve no idea if switching to a different app such as myTuner will offer much improvement — I have a sneaking suspicion that these changes are not only being forced upon TuneIn.
As someone who enjoyed tuning into radio stations around the world online in the 2000s and 2010s, this is profoundly disappointing to me, but not totally unexpected. Slowly but surely, the demands of local music licencing have forced one service after another to shut out users from outside their geographic area. Yes, a VPN can circumvent those restrictions, but I wouldn’t bet on that being a solution forever. Increasingly, services are now locking their content inside apps that track your activities. I fear we’re headed to a world where I’ll need a dozen apps to get even a fraction of the radio I used to get with just one app.