Monday, 16 September 2019

BBC Sounds...

... the death knell for iPlayer.

I heard it on the grapevine. Well, the news actually. At seven o'clock this morning. And it was obvious long before that.

From today, BBC Sounds takes over from the excellent inlayer radio. Yes, the app that boasts (in an annoying voice) of providing 'music, radio, podcasts' in one place is now where we'll all have to go to listen to the wireless on our phones or tablets, Macs and PCs. Provided they're up-to-date with the most recent operating system, that is!

Sounds isn't exactly a bad app. In some ways I can see why they've made the switch. Podcasts are the big bucks audio phenomenon and on dear old iPlayer radio the presenters had to all but beg you to subscribe or share, favourite or bookmark them.

It's all much easier (apparently) on BBC Sounds.

But it's also so much harder to like an app that it doesn't give anything like the level on information iPlayer does. Take this, for example. I want to find out what's actually being played in the first half Saturday's Last Night of the Proms concert. With iPlayer, it's easy:

With Sounds, nothing doing. It tells you the time it's on and the title of the programme. Nothing more.

In iPlayer, I can bookmark ahead. If I want to listen to the Omnibus of Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale I can add it to favourites (which bookmarks it on Sounds) before it's even been broadcast.  Of course it apologizes and tells me that this episode is not (yet) available but I can click 'Add' and have it waiting in my favourites when it is. Simple!

But on BBC Sounds the show is greyed-out, mute, unclick-able, dead. You have to wait until it's been on-air which somehow seems to defeat the very object of the Sounds app.

Of course, all this is no more the slightly irritating. But when an organisation replaces something that works well with something so much worse, it's highly irritating. Annoying, even.

And what's worse is that you can't even complain. I've tweeted screen-grabs like these to @BBCSounds loads, and got nadda response. I've gone through the laborious process of reporting my concerns on the BBC desktop site. No good. You go so far with a complaint about BBC Sounds before being returned to an earlier page. They clearly think the app is faultless.

So, for the record, here's my post on the subject. I make it available to the BBC and anyone else who might be interested in the probably vain hope that they'll do something about it.

But I doubt it. They seem (rather like several others we could mention) deaf to all views except their own and determined to forge ahead with a disastrous policy in spite of all evidence and entreaties.

'Sounds' familiar!

1 comment:

  1. The BBC has been forced to produce Sounds to attract a younger audience by Ofcom and John Whittingdale's 2016 white paper to keep it's funding/charter. Tony Hall has recently enforced £100m in cuts elsewhere to plow into Sounds. It's Jim Purcell's baby and he is ignoring the widespread criticism. It's
    cost millions to build and over £10m to publicise. An expensive folly.


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