(if you can't see a music player directly below, try refreshing your page)
I've been thinking a lot about starting an internet radio station these past few months (although, these past few years would probably be more accurate). I've been using things like Mixcloud and 8tracks and Spotify (and a hundred other things), and they have kind of worked in quenching that ‘radio hunger’, but they had their limitations.
For example, Spotify has a lot of music on it… but it also doesn't have a lot of music. Plus, it is only available in some countries. And Mixcloud and 8tracks allow you to use any music that you have on your computer and can be accessed in any country… but there is a set order to your mixes, which kind of puts the amount of times you can listen to things at only a few.
So I've been looking into starting up a 24 hour stream that can be listened to in any country and feature music from bands that may not be on any streaming platform. And after a bunch of dead ends (i.e. my initial searches led me to some quite expensive options), I stumbled upon a service called Radionomy.
Now… this service is not perfect. But it definitely is a good starting point for me to test whether or not I should be spending more time on this internet radion thing that I spend too much time thinking about. So first, I'll mention the pros of Radionomy…
- They Pay All The Royalties & Streaming: You might not know this, but starting an internet radio station is really expensive. The royalties that you have to pay are surprisingly quite high and hosting a 24 hour stream that can be accessed by lots of people is also quite astronomical. And, surprisingly, Radionomy covers all those costs. They do that by playing 4 minutes of commercials every hour (although I think they only play commercials in France, Spain and the US… as I have been listening to my station the past couple days and haven't heard one commercial). They also have a certain quoto of listening hours that your station needs to meet for you to continue using the service, which I think is an average of 130 hours per day (after your station has been active for 3 months). So, if you like the idea of there being a 24 hour Mix Tape Radio, listen often and tell your friends to do the same.
- They Have An App: So if you have an iPhone or Android, you can download their app for free and listen to Mix Tape Radio on your phone.
Well, I guess that 'pay all royalties & streaming' is the main pro and the biggest hurdle that has been keeping me from starting up a station. Now for some of the negatives…
- For The First 3 Months, I Can Only Upload 1000 Tracks: In theory, 1000 tracks is quite a bit. But not really when you have a 24 hour stream, 7 days a week (1 day is about 432 tracks needing to be played; 7 days is about 3024 tracks; and 3 months is around 38,880). So 1000 tracks can get stretched pretty thin after awhile. Radionomy does have a library of over 80,000 tracks that you can also use… but you can probably imagine how mainstream that selection is. Their selection is not as shite as I was expecting it to be, but it is not great (plus, a lot of their songs are missing artwork and they've set some weird mixing points for when the next track comes in). That being said, after 3 months —if your station is meeting the 130 hours listened per day— the amount of songs you can upload gets bumped up to 3000. So, again, if you like the idea of there being a 24 hour Mix Tape Radio, listen often and tell your friends to do the same. Of course, I can remove some tracks and upload new ones —which I will probably have to do in the first 3 months— but the upload process and organization of the music is a bit painful and it'd be nice to be able to leave things on the site once they are there.
- Their Embeded Player Is Flash: I mean, it works fine enough on my computer… but it can be a little bit buggy. Apparently there is an HTML5 player coming, so hopefully that will come soon.
- They Don't Create 'Buy' Links: They do tell which song and artist is playing, so that is good (and this page shows 'recently played')… but it'd be nice if 'buy' links were automatically generated.
- Their Customer Service Is Non-Existant: It seems a bit odd, but their customer service seems to just be posting in their forums and having volunteer moderators answer the questions (and since the service originated in France, it seems the majority of the posts are in French). So it feels a bit like you are completely on your own to figure things out.
Anyways, I'm just rambling on about stuff that you probably don't care about. The main point I'm trying to convey is that this version of ‘Mix Tape Radio As An Internet Radio Station’ is not currently 100% how I would like it to be… but then, if you want something to be 100% what you want, you kind of need to build it yourself. So consider this a test run / beta version of Mix Tape Radio.
If you haven't started listening already, here's a page that lists all your listening options.
And after you give it a listen (and hopefully, listen often) let me know what you think about the idea of there being a 24 hour Mix Tape Radio station. It's definitely something I would like to expand and improve upon, but it's possible that the world doesn't need another internet radio station (or at least, not one by me).