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TuneIn hits 1 billion hours of listening in 2013, gets funding

The Internet radio service says its 40 million monthly active users spent big chunks of time on TuneIn over the first four months of the year.

As consumers are buying more smartphones, their listening of digital radio stations and other live programming is growing fast, says TuneIn.

The Internet radio service on Wednesday announced that its 40 million monthly active users have listened to more than a billion hours of programming in the first four months this year. That works out to about 6.25 hours per user, per month. How this compares to the same period last year the company won't say, though it noted it's a new record.

TuneIn's also got a new $25 million round of funding led by Institutional Venture Partners along with Google Ventures, Sequoia Capital, and General Catalyst Partners. Additionally it's hired Google's former assistant treasurer Axel Martinez to be its CFO.

In March, TuneIn says it had more than 227 million listening sessions that were more than a minute long. It's trying to grow that number by helping users schedule and be alerted to events with TuneIn Live, a new feature that launched in February, and more recently on iOS last week. Those events are filtered up to TuneIn from local stations. The company also curates items it thinks are interesting, and scans for events it might not have when people mention @TuneIn in a tweet.

Interestingly enough, TuneIn now says it's grown to the point where it can fairly accurately determine changes in the market share and makeup of smartphones and tablets before some research firms. "We can predict what phones are doing well before the numbers come out," TuneIn CEO John Donham told CNET in an interview.

How that works out for this month's numbers versus the same month from a year ago is, perhaps, not all that interesting. Apple's iOS is still the leader, though now followed more closely by Google's Android. Android now nearly ties with iOS at 47 percent of users during May vs. iOS' 48 percent. The same time last year Android accounted for 37 percent of users, and iOS was at 56 percent.

Josh Lowensohn/CNET

On the bottom end of the scale, Windows Phone held at 2 percent, which is actually a 131 percent increase with the growth of users overall. BlackBerry, by comparison, went from 5 percent of users, down to 3 percent, which TuneIn says represents a 4 percent decline by volume.

TuneIn continues to be a free service, though also has a paid version. The company makes its money on pre-roll ads, and its service is also preinstalled on every HTC smartphone.