In terms of understanding what a site or platform’s business model or reason for being is, Shoutcast has always puzzled me. Shoutcast is one of the largest portals to Internet radio stations in the world. Owned by AOL and powered by Nullsoft streaming software, Shoutcast is a platform that either originates or redistributes audio streams. The Shoutcast directory has over 40,000 different stations or channels listed. comScore pegs their site traffic at 59 million a month. That’s like in Pandora‘s league.
It’s pretty darn big. On a wednesday afternoon they have over 860,000 people streaming off of the platform.
But it’s never been easy to understand their business model. For years, certain stations enjoyed free bandwidth from Shoutcast and never had to give a thing in return. A glance at the site reveals little in the way of advertising. And a few years ago, AOL handed control of their Radio@AOL platform to CBSRadio to better develop and monetize, and just left Shoutcast alone.
The app offers the first of its kind wireless sync between a desktop computer and a mobile device. It also enables you to search, favorite and listen to all the stations on the platform, get artist info and pause your playlist. It integrates scrobbling, Last.fm’s (owned by CBSRadio) music sharing technology.
Reportedly, this is an example of AOL executing on its strategy to create more engaging and helpful content experiences for its users. And put a little competition up for iTunes. “As the number two digital music management application worldwide, Winamp is uniquely positioned to be the go-to service for users on this new platform,” said Kerry Trainor, AOL’s SVP of Entertainment. “At a time when consumers are embracing Android mobile devices, AOL is innovating to meet that consumer demand.”
Yeah well, maybe the sleeping giant is awakening?