Internet radio (also web radio, net radio, streaming radio, e-radio webcasting) is an audio service transmitted via the Internet. Radio stations have had to re-adapt the way they operate since the invention and technology of the Internet. Traditional radio has had a long history and now Internet radio is the current story being written. The history of internet radio dates back less than thirty years and is considered modern history.
Unlike traditional radio, internet radio can be accessed anywhere in the world, and in turn anyone in the world can listen to music from another city, state, country, or continent. Internet radio remains popular among expatriates and listeners with interests that are often not adequately served by local radio stations (such as eurodance, progressive rock, ambient music, folk music, classical music, and stand-up comedy). Internet radio services offer news, sports, talk, and various genres of music—every format that is available on traditional radio stations.
WXYC, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, was the very first radio station to be broadcast live over the Internet in 1994. The stream was originally broadcast using the MP3 format and soon led to hundreds and then thousands of other radio station following in its footsteps.
The passing of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act in 1998 made it a little more expensive for legitimate Internet radio stations: they would have to pay more royalties than traditional stations to play the same music. There was an enormous backlash as a result. Even large radio stations would fail financially with the business model proposed by the DMCA. A grass-roots effort emerged to help save Internet radio from its own collapse.
Eventually, this financial issue was worked out, and today, there are thousands of Internet radio stations available. Traditional air stations are using the Internet to broadcast to fans far away from their signals. If you ever wanted to listen a great radio station, they can be found on the Internet.
Internet Radio – Popularity
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 “as 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 devices, which give an FM like receiver user experience.