Starting an Internet Radio Station takes time and lots of know how, but Live365.com makes it easier and legal.
I started trying to do an Internet station with Winamp, but found it kept freezing my machine, no listeners, and illegal. So, I turned to Live365.com. What a lifesaver.
First, You go to live365.com and select a package. I chose a personal package with 7 days free. I started on the $14.95 plan, but if you do not pay for the year up front, then you are charged an extra $5. Not bad. You then set up the page with the station name, description, keywords, and things like that.
Then it is time to upload the music. Live365.com has a program (Studio365) that you put on your computer to make this easier. You choose the format, such as live, relay, or basic. Then you decide on the speed of songs. The higher the speed the less space you have on the server. I did 64 mp3 pro, but kept running out of space, so I went to 32 mp3 pro. It sounds great, and I have over 200 songs online. I did upgrade to a higher package which was $24.95 ($29.95 monthly), so that I could put music on more freely.
When you put your music online to be played it must be compliant with the DCMA Guidelines. These guidelines include such things as how often a song or artist can be played. All artists that are members of ASCAP, BMI, and the like are paid royalties through the fees that we pay. If a station owner goes through programs such as Wimamp , Icecast, or their own site then they will have to pay a minimum of $2000 in royalties. Most underground stations will never be hit with those fees, but my guess is if it becomes really popular than someone will eventually come to collect. By having it on Live365 you will be forced into compliance by the program, legal, and have an audience.
Since starting the station in May, there have been listeners in over 16 countries that have found us. I did a little marketing with a press release, and banner ads, but not much. Weekends are the slowest for the station, so I use that time to add new music.
This brings me to a feature called the Scheduler. I have multiple small lists, and one main list. The main list has every song that we play. The smaller lists have different styles which I then schedule to play at certain times during the week. I usually put 2 hours on each list, and play it for one hour. This avoids people listening to the same songs each week during that time period. The full list plays in between the scheduled lists. It has over 17 hours of music, so odds are that listeners will not hear the same song twice during their listening time.
At night on the weekends I sometimes broadcast live, so that I can see how it functions. If I want to add my voice I can, but I usually don’t. You can learn tricks of the trade in the community boards that are for your format, or the green room for broadcasters.
I add music once a week or so just to mix it up a little. Where do I get my music? CDs that I own, the music library that Live 365 has that does not add to your storage space, downloads.com, emusic, and places where they want you to download their music.
Some basic things you need to do: Make sure the music was recorded or converted at 128 or higher or it will sound like the chipmunks. I use Real to convert my music to the format that I want it to be, so that I know. If it is lower the Studio365 will tell you and let you know that it will not sound well. Studio365 then converts my file to 32 mp3 pro. This is like FM radio.
You are allowed to make money with your station through banner ads, donations, and rewards, but on the personal broadcasting plans you cannot sell ads. The professional packages are good, but they are expensive and not for the hobbyist. It does take time to get an audience, so I recommend picking one of the personal broadcaster packages for at least the first six months. When you have consistent listeners then you could consider the pro packages.
If you have lots of music, and want to share it legally then Live 365 is one of the best options for doing that. You can even do live shows, tape some shows, and put your producers hat on. Try it for 7 days and see what you think.