Radioplayer, the ambitious digital radio service backed by the BBC and commercial stations, attracted 5.7 million listeners in May, according to the first figures released by the venture on Wednesday.
The internet radio service, which features more than two hundred local and national UK stations including BBC Radio 1 and Classic FM, launched eight weeks ago and was hailed as a “quiet breakthrough” for the radio industry.
About 5.7 million unique listeners tuned into the player 22.5 million times in the four weeks from April 25, according to Radioplayer’s own “snapshot” figures. Radioplayer is working with radio industry audience measurement body Rajar to validate and interpret its usage figures.
Overall, internet radio attracts 4.7 million listeners a week – representing 3.1 percent of all listening – according to Rajar figures.
Michael Hill, the managing director of Radioplayer, said: “Growing digital radio is a long game, but we now have two magic ingredients. A simple, consistent Radioplayer with millions of users, and an industry working collaboratively on its digital future. It’s a great start.”
Andrew Harrison, the chairman of Radioplayer, said in March the player could expect to attract more than 3 million listeners in its first week. On Wednesday, he described the figures for May as “really encouraging”.
Radioplayer can be embedded onto each radio station’s website as a customisable pop-up player. As with the BBC iPlayer, listeners can tune in live to hundreds of stations or catch up on shows they have missed.
All of the BBC’s local and national stations are among the 238 stations to have signed up to Radioplayer – up from 157 stations on the streaming service at launch. Radioplayer bosses want each of the 400 Ofcom-licensed UK radio stations on the platform within a year.
On Wednesday, Radioplayer announced that it is launching a tool to enable stations to customise their own pop-up players to match their individual sites. The service also said it could soon open the door for smaller community stations and student stations to join.
Radioplayer is expected to unveil mobile applications for the iPhone and iPad later this year.
This article originally appeared in MediaGuardian.