Aussie stations banned from TuneIn UK, 2GB quits iHeartRadio app

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After a court battle in the UK between radio aggregator TuneIn and some record companies, the app has been forced to block overseas stations – including those from Australia.

The move follows a High Court action against TuneIn from major labels Sony and Warner.

The music companies claimed TuneIn was liable for both direct and authorising infringement in connection to all but the UK-based stations contained in its app, and the court agreed.

According to a spokesperson from Sony Music, TuneIn – with 120,000 stations globally – was “unlawfully redistributing and commercialising links to unlicensed music on a widespread scale”.

TuneIn argued it was simply connecting users to streams owned by radio networks, acting only as a search engine by “communicating the music contained in each radio station’s stream”.

As reported by Radio Today UK, the judge didn’t accept TuneIn’s argument that it was similar to Google, saying users can do much more than just search, like browse music by genre and artist.

The ruling was made last November and the changes introduced last week. The move left some users venting their frustration on social media when they couldn’t stream their favourite stations.


Pictured: Aussie stations like KIIS FM are no longer available to TuneIn users in the UK.

The San Fran-headquartered TuneIn, which competes locally with Commercial Radio Australia’s RadioApp and Australian Radio Network’s iHeartRadio, is popular among UK-based ex-pats.

TuneIn responded by apologising to its users for the inconvenience.

“Due to a court ruling in the United Kingdom, we will be restricting international stations to prohibit their availability in the UK, with limited exceptions,” TuneIn said.

The radio aggregation app space is becoming competitive. This week RadioApp replaced iHeartRadio as the main source for station streams on Google devices in Australia.

Nine Radio also recently yanked its stations from iHeartRadio Australia, leaving only streams owned by ARN’s KIIS and Pure Gold networks, plus ACE, ABC, SBS and some community stations.

When contacted by Radio Today, an ARN spokesperson confirmed Nine’s departure from the app.

“Nine Radio is no longer making their stations available to stream on iHeartRadio. Many news and talk stations remain, including Sky News featuring Alan Jones and ABC News Radio.”

Nine-owned stations removed from iHeartRadio include 2GB, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR.

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Mark Taylor
15 Sep 2020 - 8:06 am

All ACE stations are on iheart as well as radioapp

AJ
15 Sep 2020 - 9:58 am

The radio companies are going to regret pushing their listeners to streaming platforms in the long run. Why would you encourage your listeners to go onto iHeart and Tunein when they will find endless better options on those platforms? It’s like you want your listeners to go elsewhere! Stations like 4KQ (AM) for example. Why encourage your listeners on to iHeart instead of encouraging your listeners to listen via DAB? It makes zero sense.

Hkn
15 Sep 2020 - 3:37 pm

I only listen radio through that app….

Ray
16 Sep 2020 - 11:17 am

How is browsing music genres different from searching? That’s search with parameters. The judge’s decision does not sound right.

Michelle Allen
16 Sep 2020 - 4:24 pm

A.J the problem with DAB or DAB+ is that it is not available everywhere I don’t have access to it. In Australia it is DAB+ and only available four or five of the Capital Cities everywhere else forget it. My favourite radio station has an app you download off off Google Play or iTunes equivalent depending on which phone you have

AJ
17 Sep 2020 - 9:18 am

@ Michelle DAB+ is available in all capital cities including Darwin, Canberra and Hobart. Of course if you’re outside the capitals you will need to find another way to access. But my point was if radio stations push people online they’ll find better options. I also stream radio online – but when I do it’s overseas stations – because they are better!!

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