Guitars on the Net - The six string Web
Issue #4 March 2002

Online Guitar Music

Welcome to a series of articles guiding you through the wealth of guitar related information on the internet. Here, I will try to recommend what's good, tell you what's bad and hopefully save you some time while looking for the information you want.

In this issue, we are going to take a listen to the great tunes being broadcast over the internet.

Online internet broadcasting has been around for a few years now. In fact, streaming radio has gone from a somewhat obscure beginning to being embraced by the world's governments. For instance, the federally funded CBC Radio (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) boasts 19 individual internet broadcasts, not including 'On Demand' content! So what does this mean for us? Some great listening for one thing, as well as a fantastic opportunity to get our music heard.....world wide!

Never before has getting heard or hearing something new been this easy...or cheap! In fact, as you are most likely aware, the CGPA broadcasts our own radio station, featuring nothing but guitar masters and our own members' music. To listen in, just go to the Radio page and follow the easy to read instructions. Being fellow musicians and a nonprofit organization to boot, the money is scarce. So how do we do it? How can you do it too? Let's start at Live365.com!

Live365.com - http://www.live365.com

Live365.com is the service that we here at the CGPA use to broadcast. If you're looking to start your own station with your music, this is definitely an option you want to look at. From the broadcast point of view, the tech support is good and the broadcast control interface is straight forward. The nice thing about this service is that you can have your own radio station without having to dedicate your own computer to it 24/7. You just upload your songs in mp3 format, name your station, click the broadcast button and away you go! It doesn't get much easier than that. You will, however, have to put up with them inserting some commercials into your playlist though, but that's a small price to pay for such a powerful service. As far as listening goes, if you can't find it being broadcast here, then it doesn't exist! As a resource for hearing some fabulous music, almost nothing beats it! Their incredibly slow website and irritating ads really bring something fantastic down to a level of just really good. For their long-standing service (I've been broadcasting through them since their inception in 1999) and ease of use, I give it 8.75 out of 10

ShoutCast - http://www.shoutcast.com/

The Granddaddy of them all is Shoutcast. Developed by the makers of Winamp, the shoutcast technology is simply the best for live broadcasting. While the setup is somewhat more technical than Live365, it's still not rocket science and the live aspect is something to really think about and what's better than free? Want to listen? Here are the Shoucast stats the last time I logged in at 2:30 in the afternoon on a wednesday....Listeners - 46,404 / Servers(Stations) - 2,884 .... 263,697,536 served to date. That's a ratio of 16 listeners for every broadcast. Want to be heard? This is how you wanna do it! I give it 9 out of 10

Spinner.com - http://www.spinner.com/

Ok, I admit it...I'm listening to Spinner as I write this article. Spinner is probably the best known online radio in the world. If you don't know about it, well, you should. Commercial free and every genre imaginable, this is the industry standard in internet radio. What you may not know is that Spinner also powers Netscape Radio - AOL Plus Radio - Compuserve Radio & ICQ Radio. When I sat down to write this, I fired up my Spinner player, tuned into the Dinner Jazz station (so I can think) and what do I hear? Joe Pass playing 'I Should Care'! Internet radio doesn't get any better than this. The quality is outstanding and the ads are minimal. You can even rate each song that plays! If you have it, you'll keep it. If you don't have it, get it. Due to their annoying minimize feature, I have to dock it one point, so I give it 9 out of 10

Various

By now, you are probably aware of RealAudio and the Windows Media Player. These each have their own directories of streaming audio and while I do use them, I find that their interfaces are both equally annoying. The persistent advertising is in itself irritating beyond words, but their cumbersome interface is far too time consuming when all you want to do is get to the music. Unfortunately, they seem to be a necessary evil. Combined, I give them 6 out of 10

MP3.com - http://mp3.com

OK, so this is not streaming radio...well yes it is, sortta, but not exactly. Nor is it live, but I feel it is crucial to include it here! Are you an aspiring musician? Want to get heard? Want to hear stuff you CAN'T hear anywhere else on the planet (Live365 included)? Go to MP3.com now! Type Canada or Canadian into the search engine and be amazed! For instance, the station called 'Canada Rocks!' plays great Canadian, Indy music. If you get nothing else from this article, at least visit MP3.com and open your ears to truly inspiring music, most likely from your own home town! I give this a rare 9.5 out of 10

In the next issue, I'm gonna do it. Yes kids, I'm going to wade into the vast reaches of government red tape and tell you where to go to get that big government Loony for your project! Wish me luck and see you there!

Driving the gear van down the Information SuperHighway, I'm Dave Alexander.

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