Internet radio
Internet radio is an audio service transmitted via the Internet
The Internet is a global system of interconnected computer networks that use the standard Internet protocol suite to serve billions of users worldwide...

. Music streaming on the Internet is usually referred to as webcasting since it is not transmitted broadly through wireless means.

Internet radio involves streaming media
Streaming media
Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a streaming provider.The term "presented" is used in this article in a general sense that includes audio or video playback. The name refers to the delivery method of the medium rather...

, presenting listeners with a continuous stream of audio that cannot be paused or replayed, much like traditional broadcast media; in this respect, it is distinct from on-demand file serving. Internet radio is also distinct from podcast
A podcast is a series of digital media files that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication...

ing, which involves downloading rather than streaming. Many Internet radio services are associated with a corresponding traditional (terrestrial) radio
Radio is the transmission of signals through free space by modulation of electromagnetic waves with frequencies below those of visible light. Electromagnetic radiation travels by means of oscillating electromagnetic fields that pass through the air and the vacuum of space...

 station or radio network
Radio network
There are two types of radio networks currently in use around the world: the one-to-many broadcast type commonly used for public information and mass media entertainment; and the two-way type used more commonly for public safety and public services such as police, fire, taxicabs, and delivery...

. Internet-only radio stations are independent of such associations.

Internet radio services are usually accessible from anywhere in the world—for example, one could listen to an Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

n station from Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

 or America. Some major networks like Clear Channel
Clear channel
A clear-channel station is an AM band Radio station in North America that has the highest protection from interference from other stations, particularly concerning night-time skywave propagation. Usually known as class A stations since 1982, they are occasionally still referred to by their former...

 (which has been already lifted the overseas restriction of online streaming), CBS Radio
CBS Radio
CBS Radio, Inc., formerly known as Infinity Broadcasting Corporation, is one of the largest owners and operators of radio stations in the United States, third behind main rival Clear Channel Communications and Cumulus Media. CBS Radio owns around 130 radio stations across the country...

 and Citadel Broadcasting
Citadel Broadcasting
Citadel Broadcasting Corporation was a Las Vegas, Nevada-based broadcast holding company. Citadel owned 243 radio stations across the United States and was the third-largest radio station owner in the country...

 (except for news/talk and sports stations) in the US, and Chrysalis in the UK restrict listening to in country because of music licensing and advertising concerns. Internet radio remains popular among expatriate
An expatriate is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country and culture other than that of the person's upbringing...

s and listeners with interests that are often not adequately served by local radio stations (such as eurodance
Eurodance is a genre of electronic dance music that originated in the late 1980s or early 1990s primarily in Europe. It combines many elements from House, Techno, Hi-NRG and especially Italo-Disco...

, progressive rock
Progressive rock
Progressive rock is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." John Covach, in Contemporary Music Review, says that many thought it would not just "succeed the pop of...

, ambient music
Ambient music
Ambient music is a musical genre that focuses largely on the timbral characteristics of sounds, often organized or performed to evoke an "atmospheric", "visual" or "unobtrusive" quality.- History :...

, folk music
Folk music
Folk music is an English term encompassing both traditional folk music and contemporary folk music. The term originated in the 19th century. Traditional folk music has been defined in several ways: as music transmitted by mouth, as music of the lower classes, and as music with unknown composers....

, classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

, and stand-up comedy
Stand-up comedy
Stand-up comedy is a comedic art form. Usually, a comedian performs in front of a live audience, speaking directly to them. Their performances are sometimes filmed for later release via DVD, the internet, and television...

). Internet radio services offer news, sports, talk, and various genres of music—every format that is available on traditional radio stations.


Streaming media
Streaming media is multimedia that is constantly received by and presented to an end-user while being delivered by a streaming provider.The term "presented" is used in this article in a general sense that includes audio or video playback. The name refers to the delivery method of the medium rather...

 technology is used to distribute Internet radio, typically using a lossy
Lossy data compression
In information technology, "lossy" compression is a data encoding method that compresses data by discarding some of it. The procedure aims to minimize the amount of data that need to be held, handled, and/or transmitted by a computer...

 audio codec
Audio codec
All codecs are devices or computer programs capable of coding or decoding a digital data stream or signal.The term audio codec has two meanings depending on the context:...

. Streaming audio formats include "MP3
MPEG-1 or MPEG-2 Audio Layer III, more commonly referred to as MP3, is a patented digital audio encoding format using a form of lossy data compression...

, Ogg Vorbis
Vorbis is a free software / open source project headed by the Xiph.Org Foundation . The project produces an audio format specification and software implementation for lossy audio compression...

, Windows Media Audio
Windows Media Audio
Windows Media Audio is an audio data compression technology developed by Microsoft. The name can be used to refer to its audio file format or its audio codecs. It is a proprietary technology that forms part of the Windows Media framework. WMA consists of four distinct codecs...

, RealAudio
RealAudio is a proprietary audio format developed by RealNetworks and first released in April 1995. It uses a variety of audio codecs, ranging from low-bitrate formats that can be used over dialup modems, to high-fidelity formats for music. It can also be used as a streaming audio format, that is...

, and HE-AAC
High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding is a lossy data compression scheme for digital audio defined as a MPEG-4 Audio profile in ISO/IEC 14496-3. It is an extension of Low Complexity AAC optimized for low-bitrate applications such as streaming audio...

 (or aacPlus)". Audio data is continuously transmitted serially ("streamed") over the local network or internet in TCP
Transmission Control Protocol
The Transmission Control Protocol is one of the core protocols of the Internet Protocol Suite. TCP is one of the two original components of the suite, complementing the Internet Protocol , and therefore the entire suite is commonly referred to as TCP/IP...

 or UDP
User Datagram Protocol
The User Datagram Protocol is one of the core members of the Internet Protocol Suite, the set of network protocols used for the Internet. With UDP, computer applications can send messages, in this case referred to as datagrams, to other hosts on an Internet Protocol network without requiring...

 packets, then reassembled at the receiver and played a second or two later. The delay is called lag
Lag is a common word meaning to fail to keep up or to fall behind. In real-time applications, the term is used when the application fails to respond in a timely fashion to inputs...

, and is introduced at several stages of digital audio broadcasting.


A local tuner simulation program includes all the online radios that can also be heard in the air in the city.


The first live internet only broadcast of a live band was Seattle based space rock
Space rock
Space rock is a subgenre of rock music; the term originally referred to a group of early, mostly British, 1970s progressive and psychedelic rock bands such as Hawkwind and Pink Floyd, characterised by slow, lengthy instrumental passages dominated by electric organs, synthesizers, experimental...

 group Sky Cries Mary
Sky Cries Mary
Sky Cries Mary is an American trance rock musical group from Seattle, Washington, that formed in the late 1980s.The husband and wife team of Roderick Wolgamott Romero and Anisa Romero sing dual lead vocals...

 on November 10th, 1994, by Paul Allen
Paul Allen
Paul Gardner Allen is an American business magnate, investor, and philanthropist. Allen co-founded Microsoft with Bill Gates...

's digital media start-up Starwave
Starwave was a Seattle, Washington based software and website company, founded in 1993 by Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft. The company produced many original CD-ROM titles, including disks for Clint Eastwood, Sting, and Peter Gabriel...

, also based in Seattle.

A week later, during November 1994, Rolling Stones concert was the "first major cyberspace multicast concert." Mick Jagger opened the concert by saying, "I wanna say a special welcome to everyone that's, uh, climbed into the Internet tonight and, uh, has got into the M-bone
Mbone was an experimental backbone for IP multicast traffic across the Internet developed in the early 1990s. It required specialized hardware and software...

. And I hope it doesn't all collapse."

On November 7, 1994, WXYC
WXYC is a radio station broadcasting a college radio format. Licensed to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA, the station is run by students of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The station is currently owned by Student Educational Broadcasting...

 (89.3 FM
Frequency modulation
In telecommunications and signal processing, frequency modulation conveys information over a carrier wave by varying its instantaneous frequency. This contrasts with amplitude modulation, in which the amplitude of the carrier is varied while its frequency remains constant...

 Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Chapel Hill is a town in Orange County, North Carolina, United States and the home of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and UNC Health Care...

, NC
North Carolina
North Carolina is a state located in the southeastern United States. The state borders South Carolina and Georgia to the south, Tennessee to the west and Virginia to the north. North Carolina contains 100 counties. Its capital is Raleigh, and its largest city is Charlotte...

United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

) became the first traditional radio station to announce broadcasting on the Internet. WXYC used an FM radio connected to a system at SunSite, later known as Ibiblio
ibiblio is a "collection of collections," and hosts a diverse range of publicly available information and open source software, including software, music, literature, art, history, science, politics, and cultural studies. As an "Internet librarianship," ibiblio is a digital library and archive...

, running Cornell's CU-SeeMe
CU-SeeMe is an Internet videoconferencing client. CU-SeeMe can make point to point video calls without a server or make multi-point calls through server software first called a "reflector" and later called a "conference server" or Multipoint Control Unit...

 software. WXYC had begun test broadcasts and bandwidth testing as early as August 1994. WREK
WREK is the radio station staffed by the students of the Georgia Institute of Technology. It is located at 91.1 MHz and on channel 17 on the Georgia Tech cable TV network, GTCN...

 (91.1 FM, Atlanta, GA
Georgia (U.S. state)
Georgia is a state located in the southeastern United States. It was established in 1732, the last of the original Thirteen Colonies. The state is named after King George II of Great Britain. Georgia was the fourth state to ratify the United States Constitution, on January 2, 1788...

 USA) started streaming on the same day using their own custom software called CyberRadio1. However, unlike WXYC, this was WREK's beta launch and the stream was not advertised until a later date.

In 1995, Progressive Networks released RealAudio as a free download. Time magazine said that RealAudio took "advantage of the latest advances in digital compression" and delivered "AM radio-quality sound in so-called real time." Eventually, companies such as Nullsoft and Microsoft released streaming audio players as free downloads. As the software audio players became available, "many Web-based radio stations began springing up."

In 1996, Edward Lyman created, the first American internet radio station, legally licensed by both ASCAP and BMI, to broadcast live, 24 hours a day on the internet.

In March 1996, Virgin Radio - London, became the first European radio station to broadcast its full program live on the internet. It broadcast its FM signal, live from the source, simultaneously on the Internet 24 hours a day.

Internet radio attracted significant media and investor attention in the late 1990s. In 1998, the initial public stock offering for was a web radio company founded as "AudioNet" in September 1995 by Chris Jaeb. Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban later led the organization to hugely capitalize on the Dot-com bubble and be sold to

 set a record at the time for the largest jump in price in stock offerings in the United States. The offering price was US$18 and the company's shares opened at US$68 on the first day of trading. The company was losing money at the time and indicated in a prospectus filed with the Securities Exchange Commission that they expected the losses to continue indefinitely. Yahoo! purchased on July 20, 1999 for US$5.7 billion.

In 1998, the longest running internet radio show, "The Vinyl Lounge", commenced netcasting from Sydney, Australia, from Australia's first Internet Radio Station, NetFM ( In 1999, Australian Telco "Telstra" launched The Basement Internet Radio Station but it was later shut down in 2003 as it was not a viable business for the Telco.

From 2000 onwards, most Internet Radio Stations increased their stream quality as bandwidth became more economical. Today, most stations stream between 64 kbit/s and 128 kbit/s providing near CD quality audio.

US royalty controversy

In October 1998, the US Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization . It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to...

 (DMCA). One result of the DMCA is that performance royalties are to be paid for satellite radio
Satellite radio
Satellite radio is an analogue or digital radio signal that is relayed through one or more satellites and thus can be received in a much wider geographical area than terrestrial FM radio stations...

 and Internet radio broadcasts in addition to publishing royalties. In contrast, traditional radio broadcasters pay only publishing royalties and no performance royalties.

A rancorous dispute ensued over how performance royalties should be assessed for Internet broadcasters. Some observers said that royalty rates that were being proposed were overly burdensome and intended to disadvantage independent Internet-only stations—that "while Internet giants like AOL may be able to afford the new rates, many smaller Internet radio stations will have to shut down." The Digital Media Association (DiMA) said that even large companies, like Yahoo! Music, might fail due to the proposed rates. Some observers said that some U.S.-based Internet broadcasts might be moved to foreign jurisdictions where US royalties do not apply.

Many of these critics organized, "a coalition of listeners, artists, labels and webcasters" that opposed the proposed royalty rates. To focus attention on the consequences of the impending rate hike, many US Internet broadcasters participated in a "Day of Silence" on June 26, 2007. On that day, they shut off their audio streams or streamed ambient sound, sometimes interspersed with brief public service announcement
Public service announcement
A public service announcement or public service ad is a type of advertisement featured on television, radio, print or other media...

s. Notable participants included Rhapsody
Rhapsody (online music service)
Rhapsody is an online music store subscription service, launched in December 2001, and available in the United States only. On April 6, 2010, Rhapsody officially declared its independence from RealNetworks. Downloaded files come with restrictions on their use, enforced by Helix, Rhapsody's version...

, Live365
Live365 is an Internet radio network where members can create their own online radio station or listen to other Live365 broadcasters' online stations. As of October 2006, there were about 6,500 active stations, some of which play niche genres seldom heard on AM/FM radio...

MTV, formerly an initialism of Music Television, is an American network based in New York City that launched on August 1, 1981. The original purpose of the channel was to play music videos guided by on-air hosts known as VJs....

, Pandora
Pandora (music service)
Pandora Radio is an automated music recommendation service and custodian of the Music Genome Project available only in the United States. The service plays musical selections similar to song suggestions entered by a user...

, and SHOUTcast
SHOUTcast is cross-platform proprietary software for streaming media over the Internet. The software, developed by Nullsoft , allows digital audio content, primarily in MP3 or HE-AAC format, to be broadcast to and from media player software, enabling the creation of Internet radio "stations"...

. Some others that did not participate, like is a music website, founded in the United Kingdom in 2002. It has claimed 30 million active users in March 2009. On 30 May 2007, CBS Interactive acquired for UK£140m ....

, having just been purchased for US $280 million by CBS Music Group, stated that they did not want to punish their listeners.

SoundExchange, representing supporters of the increase in royalty rates, pointed out the fact that the rates were flat from 1998 through 2005 (see above), without even being increased to reflect cost-of-living increases. They also declared that if internet radio is to build businesses from the product of recordings, the performers and owners of those recordings should receive fair compensation. Opponents argued that the purchase price paid for Last.FM reflected that it was primarily a social network service
Social network service
A social networking service is an online service, platform, or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among people, who, for example, share interests and/or activities. A social network service consists of a representation of each user , his/her social...

 that included a radio service.

On May 1, 2007, SoundExchange
SoundExchange is a non-profit performance rights organization that collects royalties on the behalf of sound recording copyright owners and featured artists for non-interactive digital transmissions, including satellite and Internet radio.-History:Prior to 1995, SRCOs in the United States did not...

 came to an agreement with certain large webcasters regarding the minimum fees that were modified by the determination of the Copyright Royalty Board
Copyright Royalty Board
The Copyright Royalty Board is a U.S. system of three Copyright Royalty Judges who determine rates and terms for copyright statutory licenses and make determinations on distribution of statutory license royalties collected by the United States Copyright Office of the Library of Congress...

. While the CRB decision imposed a $500 per station or channel minimum fee for all webcasters, certain webcasters represented through DiMA negotiated a $50,000 "cap" on those fees with SoundExchange. However, DiMA and SoundExchange continue to negotiate over the per song, per listener fees.

SoundExchange has also offered alternative rates and terms to certain eligible small webcasters, that allows them to calculate their royalties as a percentage of their revenue or expenses, instead of at a per performance rate. To be eligible, a webcaster had to have revenues of less than US $1.25 million a year and stream less than 5 million "listener hours" a month (or an average of 6830 concurrent listeners). These restrictions would disqualify independent webcasters like AccuRadio, DI.FM, Club977 and others from participating in the offer, and therefore many small commercial webcasters continue to negotiate a settlement with SoundExchange.

An August 16, 2008 Washington Post article reported that although Pandora was "one of the nation's most popular Web radio services, with about 1 million listeners daily...the burgeoning company may be on the verge of collapse" due to the structuring of performance royalty payment for webcasters. "Traditional radio, by contrast, pays no such fee. Satellite radio pays a fee but at a less onerous rate, at least by some measures." The article indicated that "other Web radio outfits" may be "doom[ed]" for the same reasons.

On September 30, 2008, the United States Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 passed "a bill that would put into effect any changes to the royalty rate to which [record labels and web casters] agree while lawmakers are out of session." Although royalty rates are expected to decrease, many webcasters nevertheless predict difficulties generating sufficient revenue to cover their royalty payments.

In January 2009, the US Copyright Royalty Board announced that "it will apply royalties to streaming net services based on revenue." Since then websites like Pandora
In Greek mythology, Pandora was the first woman. As Hesiod related it, each god helped create her by giving her unique gifts...

, Mog
Mog may refer to:* The Miracle Octad Generator* Mog , the Arakanese descendants living in Tripura in India* MOdified Gravity theory* A domestic cat...

, 8tracks and even recently Google Music have changed the way people discover and listen to music.


In 2003, revenue from online streaming music radio was US$49 million. By 2006, that figure rose to US$500 million. A February 21, 2007 "survey of 3,000 Americans released by consultancy Bridge Ratings & Research" found that "[a]s much as 19% of U.S. consumers 12 and older listen to Web-based radio stations." In other words, there were "some 57 million weekly listeners of Internet radio programs. More people listen to online radio than to satellite radio, high-definition radio, podcasts, or cell-phone-based radio combined." An April 2008 Arbitron survey showed that, in the US, more than one in seven persons aged 25–54 years old listen to online radio each week. In 2008, 13 percent of the American population listened to the radio online, compared to 11 percent in 2007. Internet radio functionality is also built into many dedicated Internet radio device
Internet radio device
An Internet radio device, also called network music player is a hardware device that is capable of receiving and playing streamed media from either Internet radio stations or a home network.-Background:...

s, which give an FM like receiver user experience.

List of internet radio database - Radio search Engine. - List of all available web radio stations in Europe.

See also

  • Comparison of streaming media systems
    Comparison of streaming media systems
    This is a comparison of streaming media systems. A more complete list of streaming media systems is also available.-General:The following tables compare general and technical information for a number of streaming media systems both audio and video...

  • Community radio
    Community radio
    Community radio is a type of radio service, that offers a third model of radio broadcasting beyond commercial broadcasting and public broadcasting. Community stations can serve geographic communities and communities of interest...

  • Electronic commerce
    Electronic commerce
    Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce, eCommerce or e-comm, refers to the buying and selling of products or services over electronic systems such as the Internet and other computer networks. However, the term may refer to more than just buying and selling products online...

  • Internet radio audience measurement
    Internet Radio Audience Measurement
    Internet radio audience measurement is any method used to determine the number of people listening to an Internet radio broadcast. This information is usually obtained from the broadcaster's audio streaming server. Icecast, Nicecast, and SHOUTcast are examples of audio streaming servers that can...

  • Internet radio device
    Internet radio device
    An Internet radio device, also called network music player is a hardware device that is capable of receiving and playing streamed media from either Internet radio stations or a home network.-Background:...

  • Internet television
    Internet television
    Internet television is the digital distribution of television content via the Internet...

  • Internet stations, list
  • Internet radio licensing
    Internet radio licensing
    An Internet radio license is a specific type of broadcast license that allows the licensee to operate an Internet radio station. The licensing authority and number of licenses required varies from country to country, with some countries requiring multiple to cover various areas of a station's...

  • Internet talk radio
    Internet Talk Radio
    Internet talk radio is an audio broadcasting service transmitted via the Internet. Broadcasting radio shows on the internet is usually preferred to webcasting since it is not transmitted broadly through wireless means. It mainly works by Internet radio transmissions...

  • Mbone
    Mbone was an experimental backbone for IP multicast traffic across the Internet developed in the early 1990s. It required specialized hardware and software...

    , experimental "multicast backbone"
  • Radio music ripping
    Radio music ripping
    The term ripping can also apply to radio. New software, techniques and cloud services now makes it possible to extract the songs played on the radio and digitally save them on separate audio tracks...

  • Radio Portal
  • Simulcast
    Simulcast, shorthand for "simultaneous broadcast", refers to programs or events broadcast across more than one medium, or more than one service on the same medium, at the same time. For example, Absolute Radio is simulcast on both AM and on satellite radio, and the BBC's Prom concerts are often...

  • List of streaming media systems

Further reading

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.