Friday, August 28, 2009

Internet Radio - A marvel of our times

My first brush with Internet Radio happened sometime during the late 90s. I had heard "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls in one of our usual hangouts and was desperate to get a copy of the song. Unfortunately there wasn't a soul that I knew who had that song. Around the same time one of my buddies introduced me to an "internet radio station" website. Needless to say my entire outlook towards accessing music changed post that. Of course my source of internet was a cybercafe near my college and the cafe owner used to stare down on you if he saw you doing anything outside of sending e-mails or chatting on those public forums (if only looks could kill). Although I can understand his problem - bandwidth was at a premium at those times. Needless to say my tryst had ended abruptly with Internet Radio.
However my first experience had left quite a lasting impression for when I had an internet connection of my own the first thing I did was to look for the various internet radio stations over the web. That is when I discovered SHOUTcast. For anyone remotely interested in broadcasting, SHOUTcast offers you end to end solutions with regards to the broadcasting tools. Perhaps my curiosity for Internet Radio was partly because of my love for music, I don't know, but it did not take me much time to conclude that Internet Radio was a marvel in itself.
It was not just the music, but also the fact that you could reach out to the entire world with anything that you wanted to, simultaneously / concurrently and instantaneously. The concept is simple. You keep "pushing" (broadcasting) what you want onto a centralized location and then listeners can keep "pulling" (streaming) from there. Internet Radio like many things internet is still evolving and it will be sometime before firm ground is established with regards to working standards and addressing mass bandwidth concerns when it comes to extremely large set of audiences. But with the Internet world evolving at the pace it has been I see that gap closing very fast.

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