The right pane of the "Media Library" will then display your
can look up stations in several ways. If you click the "Quick
Genre" drop-down button, you see the menu displayed at right.
If you click "Top 500" the 500 stations with the most current
listeners are listed. The rest of the categories describe types
of radio content.
If the sort of station you're looking for isn't described by
any of these categories, then try the search box at the top right
of the "Media Library". You can search this using any term you
like, whether it's a location, a station name, a type of content,
The "Media Library" window displays several pieces of information
for each station:
- Name: name of the station
- Now Playing: artist and song name (for instance)
- Genre: type of station.
- Bitrate: quality of the signal. The higher the better.
- Type: information compression format
- Listeners: current number of them
If you click "Listeners", then that column will appear sorted
by number of listeners. The other columns are similarly sortable.
Depending on the speed of your Internet connection, you may want
to sort the "Bitrate" column and limit your choice of stations
to those that your connection can handle.
The "Now Playing" column is handy to see what's currently playing
on all the listed stations. You may want to click the "Refresh"
button at the bottom of the "Media Library" if the screen is
old. This info doesn't often seem to be right up to date, though,
in any case.
To tune a station in, double click it in the "Media Library".
If the station can handle another listener, it starts playing
and a little window opens with more station info. If you want
to visit the Web site of the station, click the link in that
If you want to bookmark a station, right-click the station and
OK, now you're ready to rock and roll. Or samba, polka, legong,
tango, rigaudon, tandava, twist, mazurka, yang ge, shuffle, waltz,
cha cha, rhumba, foxtrot, merengue, zydeco, punta, lindy hop,
hustle, swing, boogie, hip hop, mosh and...and if you can't find
that type of music on the Internet radio dial, I'll be surprised.
Internet radio is vast. It is marvelous. Enjoy it. Explore the
musics of the world.
Can you explore the poetry of the world or the philosophy of
the world via Internet radio? Well, the music is amazing. But
other sorts of programming are not easily found. Why is that?
The only non-musical category in the "Quick Genre" drop-down
is "Talk". It would seem that the SHOUTcast categories and perhaps
the other SHOUTcast metadata are not well-suited to describe
non-musical content. The search box presumably could find the
term 'poetry', for instance, among the metadata, were it there
amongst any number of several fields broadcasters must populate
when creating their stations.
So it seems that the lack of arts programming in SHOUTcast radio
is probably a mixture of both an inhospitable categorization
schema and a lack of awareness about how to create such stations.
Tomorrow I'll have a look at another Internet radio: iTunes,
which is available for the PC and Mac.
Smart hot radio app
an easy-to-use Internet radio service that you listen to
through the browser; it lets you construct 'stations' that
you 'guide' in their
| recommendations to you of music. They call
"the music genome project"; they classify each
piece of music using hundreds of properties. The interface
is constructed with Flash.
Pandora has a featureful, simple interface. You create a 'station'
by typing the name of an artist or a song. Pandora then plays
a song that has a related profile. You give it thumbs up or thumbs
down, can read a profile on the artist, see what sorts of musical
properties the profile possesses, buy the song, connect to other
people listening to the same sort of music, and much else, if
you want. If you don't like the song, a new song starts playing
momently (presumably 'learning' from your decision)--unless you've
been nixing a lot of songs, at which point the free version of
Pandora says that her music license doesn't let her play too
many songs per hour for you. Sure, Pandora. You just don't like
me cause I'm cheap. Create or play a different station if you
want more songs now, she says. No, Pandora, I don't want to create
a new station. I want to train this one so you aren't pushing
so much music at me I don't like. I want the perfect radio station
that is impossibly attuned to my every passing aural fancy. Well,
then, she says, perhaps you should consider the premium service.
Actually, the premium service is reasonably priced. And it's
great to be able to move on to another song or another Pandora
channel before the current song is finished, so you don't have
to listen to so many songs you don't want to listen to. Also,
the social dimensions of Pandora are very interesting, the way
it puts you in touch with other people who like the same music
you do--you also can access the channels they've created.
Also, Pandora's box of music is high quality. It plays all
sorts of music you may not have heard. Music that is usually
audibly related to the choices you made to create your station,
but often not music you would have guessed it would pick. This
is exciting. It does actually help you find music you
like that you didn't know about. The "musical genome project" is
very clever and useful in its analysis of the DNA of songs. Pandora
is a classy musical app that takes radio in exciting new directions.
The texts available on each artist are comparative, primarily,
mostly drawn from the All Music Guide. There are profiles on
the artists and also on individual albums. The reviews/profiles
contain links when other artists are mentioned. You can also
listen to previews of each song on a given album. So listening
to Pandora can be either a mindless activity or an absorbed study,
depending on your mood and schedule.
Also, I find myself intrigued with seeing how far you can take
a channel you create. Can you actually 'train' it so that it
eventually pumps out stuff that blows your mind quite a lot?
I confess it's already doing fairly well on that count. But onward
and upward, eh? And how big is their music collection? I guess
it'll eventually get to the point where it's like looking at
a good friend's music collection, a friend with whom you listen
to a great deal of music together—but it's still fresh
after a few days. One wants to discover the edges of it.
Pandora's music license apparently forbids it from offering
music to people outside of the USA; Pandora asks you for a valid
five-digit USA zip code.
Related automated recommendation and Internet radio services
include Last.fm and,
Other reviews of pandora.com:
Postscript: As of July 2007, Pandora is only available in the
how to get the current title information from a Shoutcast
stream. I was looking into this to see if making a Director
piece using Internet
| radio is feasible.
Director will play a streaming Shoutcast broadcast via an SWA
member. Just set the URL to the stream's URL (not to a pls or
Director has an undocumented id3tags property that lets you
get the ID 3 tag of a regular mp3 file. As with all SWA properties,
it's only available after the SWA file has been buffered. (use
preLoadMember() & wait until state=2). But a streaming station
is not a regular mp3 file, and I know of no way in Director to
get this information concerning a streaming station. A pity.
It seems that you can't get the current artist and title information
from a Shoutcast stream in Director. Apparently the same is true
If I could, I could use dbcinema to
get images somewhat relevant to the artist and song and display
those while the song was playing.
to link to a stream
|| hen you visit Internet radio stations, sometimes they
have a page that tells you how to link to them. Such is the
case with SomaFM.com; if you
| visit http://somafm.com/linktous,
at the bottom of that page are instructions on how to link
to their streams.
If stations don't have such pages, then look in the status bar
of the browser when you mouse-over the station's link that starts
the stream playing. You should see the URL that you need to link
Usually such links are to pls files
stored on the radio stations' servers. These seem to be the preferred
method of initiating a Shoutcast broadcast. pls files typically
provide several URLs your audio-player can try to play the station.
Multiple URLs are provided when stations are popular and the
station needs to distribute the listenership over several servers.
There are other playlist file formats, such as m3u.
In its most simple form, you simply put one URL on each line
of the m3u file and save the text file with an m3u extension.
Such a playlist plays the mp3 on the first line first, the mp3
on the second line second, and so forth.
If you right click on All of the Above
Streams and select "Save Target As" you can
save and then open the m3u file in a text editor and view it.
This is a very slightly more complicated use of the m3u format.
Each mp3 uses two lines in the m3u. The first line is for having
applications such as Winamp display something other than the
mp3's URL before it is played.
m3u files are crazy simple to create and they let you stream
your mp3's from your site, rather than the audience having to
download the full mp3 before being able to listen to it. Just
create a text file, put the full URL of each mp3 on a separate
line, save the file with the m3u extension, link to it from an
HTML page, and upload.
As you see in the m3U I've created, they can also be used to
link together many streaming radio stations.
Radio and Net Art
||seems that the 'Internet radio dial' is more interesting
than the regular radio dial in any particular place. The
Internet radio dial is international and contains far
|more stations and variety than the radio dial
in any particular location.
The 'Internet radio dial' is vast. And there seem to be very
few satisfactory representations of the 'Internet radio dial'.
I have not really encountered any good way to explore Internet
radio except by google and also tuning into pages such as Nick
links and exploring, from there, blogs and stations, etc.
It's kind of a cool exploration, actually.