Internet radio (also web radio, net radio, streaming radio, e-radio,
IP radio, online radio) is a digital audio service transmitted via the
Broadcasting on the
Internet is usually referred to as
webcasting since it is not transmitted broadly through wireless means.
It can either be used as a stand alone device running through the
internet, or as a software running through a single computer system.
Internet radio is generally used to communicate and easily spread
messages through the form of talk. It is distributed through a
wireless communication network connected to a switch packet network
(the internet) via a disclosed source.' 
Internet radio involves streaming media, presenting listeners with a
continuous stream of audio that typically 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 podcasting, which involves downloading rather than
Internet radio services offer news, sports, talk, and various genres
of music—every format that is available on traditional broadcast
radio stations. Many
Internet radio services are associated with a
corresponding traditional (terrestrial) radio station or radio
network, although low start-up and ongoing costs have allowed a
substantial proliferation of independent Internet-only radio
Internet radio service was launched in 1993. As of 2017, the
most popular internet radio platforms and applications in the world
include (but are not limited to) TuneIn Radio, iHeartRadio, and Sirius
Internet radio technology
4.1 US royalty controversy
5 See also
7 Further reading
Internet radio technology
Internet radio services are usually accessible from anywhere in the
world with a suitable internet connection available; one could, for
example, listen to an Australian station from
Europe and America. This
has made internet radio particularly suited to and popular among
expatriate listeners. Nevertheless, some major
networks like TuneIn Radio, CBS Radio, Pandora Radio, iHeart
Citadel Broadcasting (except for news/talk and sports stations) in the
United States, and Chrysalis in the United Kingdom, restrict listening
to in-country due to music licensing and advertising issues.[citation
Internet radio is also suited to listeners with special interests,
allowing users to pick from a multitude of different stations and
genres less commonly represented on traditional radio.
Internet radio receiver
Internet radio is typically listened to on a standard home PC or
similar device, through an embedded player program located on the
respective station's website. In recent years, dedicated devices that
resemble and offer the listener a similar experience to a traditional
radio receiver have arrived on the market.
Streaming technology is used to distribute
Internet radio, typically
using a lossy audio codec. Streaming audio formats include MP3, Ogg
Windows Media Audio, RealAudio, and
HE-AAC (or aacPlus).
Audio data is continuously transmitted serially (streamed) over the
local network or internet in TCP or UDP packets, then reassembled at
the receiver and played a second or two later. The delay is called
lag, and is introduced at several stages of digital audio
A local tuner simulation program includes all the online radios that
can also be heard in the air in the city.
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 devices, which give
an FM like receiver user experience.
In the fourth quarter (Q4) of 2012, Pandora, TuneIn Radio, iHeart
Radio, and other subscription-based and free
Internet radio services
accounted for nearly one quarter (23 percent) of the average weekly
music listening time among consumers between the ages of 13 and 35, an
increase from a share of 17 percent the previous year.
As Internet-radio listening rose among the 13-to-35 age group,
listening to AM/FM radio, which now accounts for 24 percent of
music-listening time, declined 2 percentage points. In the
36-and-older age group, by contrast,
Internet radio accounted for just
13 percent of music listening, while AM/FM radio dominated listening
methods with a 41 percent share.
Currently, 47% of all Americans ages 12 and older -- an estimated 124
million people -- said they have listened to online radio in the last
month, while 36% (94 million people) have listened in the last week.
These figures are up from 45% and 33%, respectively, in 2013. The
average amount of time spent listening increased from 11 hours, 56
minutes per week in 2013 to 13 hours 19 minutes in 2014. As might be
expected, usage numbers are much higher for teens and younger adults,
with 75% of Americans ages 12-24 listening to online radio in the last
month, compared to 50% of Americans ages 25-54 and 21% of Americans
55+. The weekly figures for the same age groups were 64%, 37% and 13%,
respectively. In 2015, it was recorded that 53% of Americans, or
143 million people, ages 12 and up are currently listen to internet
Some stations, such as Primordial Radio, use
Internet radio as a
platform as opposed to other means such as FM or DAB, as it gives
greater freedom to broadcast as they see fit, without being subject to
regulatory bodies such as
Ofcom in the UK. For example,
Ofcom has very
strict rules about presenters endorsing products and product
placement; being an
Internet radio station they are free of this
Internet radio was pioneered by Carl Malamud. In 1993, Malamud
Talk Radio", which was the "first computer-radio
talk show, each week interviewing a computer expert". The
Internet concert was broadcast on June 24, 1993, by the band
Severe Tire Damage. In November 1994, a Rolling Stones concert
was the "first major cyberspace multicast concert." Mick Jagger opened
the concert by saying, "I want to say a special welcome to everyone
that's, uh, climbed into the
Internet tonight and, uh, has got into
the M-bone. And I hope it doesn't all collapse."
On November 7, 1994,
WXYC (89.3 FM Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA)
became the first traditional radio station to announce broadcasting on
WXYC used an FM radio connected to a system at SunSite,
later known as Ibiblio, running Cornell's
begun test broadcasts and bandwidth testing as early as August
WREK (91.1 FM, Atlanta, GA 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.
On December 3, 1994,
KJHK 90.7 FM, a campus radio station located in
Lawrence, Kansas, at the University of Kansas, became one of the first
radio stations in the world to broadcast a live and continuous stream
Internet radio. Time magazine said that
"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
In 1995, Scott Bourne founded NetRadio.com as the world's first
Internet-only radio network. NetRadio.com was a pioneer in Internet
radio. It was the first Internet-only network to be licensed by ASCAP.
Radio eventually went on to an IPO in October 1999. Most of the
Internet radio providers followed the path that NetRadio.com
carved out in digital media.  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. On May 1,
1997, Radio306.com (now Pure Rock Radio) launched in Saskatoon,
Canada. The internet-only station purerockradio.net celebrated 20
years on air in 2017 as the longest-running Canadian internet station.
Internet radio attracted significant media and investor attention in
the late 1990s. In 1998, the initial public stock offering for
Broadcast.com 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
Broadcast.com on July 20, 1999, for US$5.7 billion.
With the advent of streaming
RealAudio over HTTP, streaming became
more accessible to a number of radio shows. One such show, TechEdge
Radio in 1997, was broadcast in three formats - live on the radio,
live from a
RealAudio server and streamed from the web over HTTP.In
1998, the longest running internet radio show, The Vinyl Lounge,
began netcasting from Sydney, Australia, from Australia's first
Internet radio station, NetFM (www.netfm.net). In 1999, Australian
telco "Telstra" launched The Basement
Radio Station but it
was later shut down in 2003 as it was not a viable business for the
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. As of 2017 the mobile app Radio
Garden, a research project of the Netherlands Institute for Sound and
Vision, was streaming approximately 8,000 radio stations to a global
US royalty controversy
In October 1998, the US Congress passed the Digital Millennium
Copyright Act (DMCA), one result of which is that performance
royalties are to be paid for satellite radio and
broadcasts in addition to publishing royalties. In contrast,
traditional radio broadcasters pay only publishing royalties and no
A rancorous dispute ensued over how performance royalties should be
Internet broadcasters. Some
observers said that royalty rates that were being proposed were overly
burdensome and intended to disadvantage independent Internet-only
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
might be moved to foreign jurisdictions where US royalties do not
Many of these critics organized SaveNetRadio.org, "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 announcements voiced, written and produced by
popular voiceover artist Dave Solomon. Notable participants
included Rhapsody, Live365, MTV, Pandora,
Digitally Imported and
Some broadcasters did not participate, such as Last.fm, which had just
been purchased for US$280 million by CBS
Music Group. According to
Last.fm employee, they were unable to participate because
participation "may compromise ongoing license negotiations."
SoundExchange, representing supporters of the increase in royalty
rates, pointed out that the rates were flat from 1998 through 2005
(see above), without 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.
On May 1, 2007,
SoundExchange came to an agreement with certain large
webcasters regarding the minimum fees that were modified by the
determination of the Copyright Royalty Board. 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.[citation
SoundExchange has also offered alternative rates and terms to certain
eligible small webcasters, that allow 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, Digitally Imported, 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
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 "doomed" for the same reasons.
On September 30, 2008, the
United States Congress 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 Radio, AccuRadio, Mog,
Music have changed the way people discover and
listen to music.
The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 expired in January 2016, ending a
10-year period in which smaller online radio stations,
them, could pay reduced royalties to labels. On January 31, 2016,
webcasters who are governed by rules adopted by the Copyright Royalty
Board were required to pay to
SoundExchange an annual, nonrefundable
minimum fee of $500 for each channel and station, the fee for
services with greater than 100 stations or channels being $50,000
Comparison of streaming media systems
Internet radio audience measurement
Internet radio device
Internet radio licensing
Internet talk radio
Internet radio stations
List of streaming media systems
Mbone, experimental "multicast backbone"
Radio music ripping
Radio over IP
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Internet television and radio (Webcast
BitTorrent television and movies)
Pirate radio / Pirate television
Adult television channels
Children's interest channel / Children's television series
Men's interest channel
Movie television channels
Music radio /
Sports television channels
Women's interest channel
Broadcast television systems
Digital on-screen graphic
Television news screen layout
Media player software
Media Player Classic
Music on Console
Ogle DVD Player
Music Player Daemon
Adobe Media Player
MadCat Media Browser
Microsoft Movies & TV
Iriver plus 3
JRiver Media Center
Windows Media Center
Windows Media Player
Core Pocket Media Player
Free software audio players
Portable media players
Personal video recorders
Cable protection system
Prepay mobile phone
Timeline of communication technology
Undersea telegraph line
Edwin Howard Armstrong
John Logie Baird
Alexander Graham Bell
Jagadish Chandra Bose
Lee de Forest
Erna Schneider Hoover
Charles K. Kao
Alexander Stepanovich Popov
Johann Philipp Reis
Vladimir K. Zworykin
Free-space optical communication
Network switching (circuit
Public Switched Telephone
World Wide Web