Originally Published 2011
Live radio stations online appeal to a great amount of viewers, especially those who like to watch DJs in action.
For new musicians, online radio is a great way to make their music known to the public. Young and talented DJs who may not have a lot of experience can broadcast online and be heard by a larger audience than on a traditional radio. At the same time, they can make a live video of their personal or professional activities via the use of a mobile device.
How do newcomers to the music industry create their own stations? It all begins with following these general procedures:
- Acquire a fast internet connection. Doing so will prevent buffering as your online radio station plays.
- Find a radio broadcasting program you would like to use and download and install it onto your computer (such as UStream or LiveCast).
- Add songs to this software’s library.
- Choose a third-party server that can host a stream of your radio show.
- Configure the settings on the broadcasting software as supplied by your third-party server. This will establish a link from your software to the stream needed to make live broadcasting possible. You will need the bit rate (stream quality), the server IP address and your personal output with a password.
- Make your site known by marketing it. While you do, begin mixing.
Obtaining a license is compulsory only if you plan to play other artists’ material. If not, you are free to run as many streams over the internet as you like. To get a license, you must pay a single fee to the licensing agency. This fee is distributed amongst the copyright holders whose material you want to play and ensures that artists who create music get paid for their hard work. Licensing rules vary in different countries so check the rules for your country before you apply.
There are five types of online radio station licenses available depending on the nature of your station:
- Small radio service – the audience cannot influence what they listen to by pausing or skipping songs.
- Standard radio service – listeners cannot adjust what they listen to by pausing or skipping songs.
- Customized radio service – the audience can control what artists or genres they wish to listen to, can skip or pause songs, but cannot dictate which songs will be played.
- On-demand program streaming – though music is not downloadable, listeners can choose and stream music when they desire to.
- On-demand clips of recorded music – listeners can stream music when they want based on 30 second sound recording clips that cannot be downloaded.
Attaining a license to use copyrighted music for your online radio station can cost a huge bundle of money. Also, there is a great deal of paperwork that must be done. Most all startup online broadcasters don’t have the capital or the expertise to deal with the legalities of obtaining a license. Fortunately, there is an online service to help new internet radio stations get established: Live365.
What is Live365? It is an online radio network that offer great breadth and depth of high-quality streaming music in addition to talk and audio. Live365 also serves as an end-to-end broadcast platform that offers easy-to-use tools and services such as royalty coverage accessible to anyone with their own computer and internet access. Such individuals can build their own online station with minimal cost, enabling to reach audiences worldwide.
Royalty fees are arbitrary and depend on how you plan to play the music and which of the five formats as mentioned above, you choose for your radio station. Also, there are three major organizations that nearly all songwriters’ songs fall under: BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC.
Now consider a band’s songs you want to play. Which one of the above three music agencies does their music fall under? This can be found by looking at the sleeve or liner notes of the CD. If it isn’t listed here, you’ll want to contact the band’s management by visiting their website.
You can purchase a separate membership from each or purchase a “blanket insurance” policy from companies as Live365. To save money, paperwork, and legal risks, it’s best to purchase the latter than going it alone.
Once you are licensed, there are certain rules designating what you can and can’t do while broadcasting online. If you should break a rule, you are potentially subject to a lawsuit, even if you paid all necessary royalty fees. Rules set by the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) are as follows:
- If you have a “set” of songs you commonly play, that set must be at least three hours long.
- You cannot play too many songs from a particular artist or album within one day.
- Listeners of your station cannot place requests for songs or artists they want to hear.
- Your site cannot enable its listeners to download songs for their own use offline.
- As a song is playing, the artist, title, and other significant info must be displayed, but not before then.
- You may not post a schedule of what’s to be played on your site and when.
LiveCast (based in Vancouver, Canada) is a popular service that makes it possible to attain video streaming to cell phones, web-enabled PCs or Macs, tablets, and mobile internet devices. This service is currently being used daily by prominent TV news channels and live-to-air media, city transportation monitoring services, and security activities regulated by governmental agencies.