Internet radio is perhaps one of the cooler faces of network technology. Through a server like Shoutcast I can pick from hundreds of music “stations” run by people like me. Those stations are broadcasting continuous music, and I can connect and listen whenever I want. There aren’t any ads (well, some stations promote themselves now and then) and it’s crystal-clear digital sound.
Of course there’s a down side to all of this: the evil empire of the RIAA has decided this technology is somehow overstepping the bounds of copyright, and therefore it must be crushed and eliminated in order to preserve the monopoly the RIAA has enjoyed for decades. Therefore, internet radio is now subject to an FCC tax– levied per song per listener, as I recall– which makes operating these stations an expensive proposition. It’s especially important to note that internet radio is taxed at a higher rate than standard AM/FM broadcast radio. Interesting.
In any case, I believe the RIAA will eventually crumble under the weight of its own legal division as it continues trying to fight the twenty-first century, and we’ll all be rid of a greedy self-centered corporate monster.
In the meantime, I’ll continue listening to Shoutcast and occasionally run my own server just for fun. Let the tunes begin!