Radio streaming startup Streema this week launched its Simple Radio app for Android, which will give users 25,000 music, news, sports, and talk radio stations from around the world to choose from.
Streema CEO Richard Monte says that the company has been pleased with the response from users following the release of the iOS app in October, with the app being downloaded over half a million times. He attributes this take up to the app’s simple purpose and design.
“There’s a unique relationship that each listener has with their favourite radio stations. While it’s true that [other services] all compete for a user’s listening time, it’s also true that in most cases they have fundamentally different value proposition,” Monte says.
Monte and his co-founders started Streema as a side project in 2007 when they wanted a simple way to listen to their favourite radio stations in one place.
“One of the founders had lived in different countries growing up and found in radio a way to stay in touch with the culture and music of those countries,” Monte explains.
Streema faces stiff competition from a multitude of big names in the online radio and music space – Spotify, Pandora, and Sirius XM to name but a few – but Monte believes the startup’s core focus and vision will see it succeed.
“We have purposefully chosen to stay away from extraneous features by keeping it simple,” he says.
Streema talked to its users, and those of its competitors, to understand why they were choosing one over the other and how radio fit into their lives.
“It became clear that a huge segment of users are just trying to listen to the stations they’ve come to love. For them, most of the extra features that many products have added act as clutter, instead of improving the experience. In our case, we’ll only add more functionality to Simple Radio if it enables our users to get the job done better, and without compromising our core mantra of simplicity,” Monte says.
The Simple Radio app is, true to its name, quite simple to use. It is easy to navigate and has a no-frills layout that focuses on the start ion – there are no extra bells and whistles to distract you. Monte says a social vertical was originally planned to go hand in hand with the radio side of Streema – this back when startups were looking to add social verticals to everything, he says – but the team decided it was unnecessary. A good choice, I think. Having such a large variety of global start ions to listen to is also pretty cool.
Despite all the points in the pro column, my main issue on the flip side is Streema’s competition. I personally love listening to radio, and speaking French and Italian, I like that being able to listen to stations in those languages is so easy on this app, but I don’t know that radio itself is seen as sexy by a lot of millennials, who are either still stuck on their iPods or heading to Spotify for their music. Of course, there are those millennials who, like myself, still love radio, while Gen Xers and others may also flock to Streema. After all, the iOS app has been downloaded half a million times since October, and the Android app has already seen over 10,000 downloads.
Monte says the goal for 2015 is to turn Streema into a multi-platform service, expanding to wearables, cars, and home integration. A multi-platform expansion could see it get ahead of the competition.