AOL Music announced, or at least its laid off employees announced on friday afternoon that it will shut down. Shortly after that, AOL Radio’s twitter account explained that the streaming service operated by Slacker would not be shutting down. The shut down encompasses the main site that offers free music videos, song lyrics, downloads, and music news and includes sites Noisecreep (hard rock and heavy metal); The Boot (country); The Boombox (hip hop/R&B); as well as Spinner and AOL Music.
AOL Radio and reportedly Shoutcast will survive the cuts. In June of 2011 AOL Radio paired up with Slacker in a deal that moved their channels into Slacker’s portal of offerings. Slacker picked up the traffic and also the costs of streaming those channels.
Shoutcast, which AOL acquired back in the late 90s, is another story entirely. That portal gives bandwidth to more than 50,000 global stations. They have a very large audience and are quite possibly the biggest streaming portal online. (It’s never been clear to me what the business model is for Shoutcast, but that’s another story.)
AOL has certainly been through changes, struggling to retain or regain brand prominence in recent years. In 2011 they bought Huffington Post and have placed more emphasis on becoming a top notch news portal. AOL Music is likely a victim of that transition.
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I’m a fan of Chumby – mainly because of its name. Chumbys are tabletop internet radios and a lot more – they’re actually tabletop internet ready devices, designed to be a digital photo frame and alarm clock that also allows you to listen online, check news and weather, watch videos, play games.
Last year Sony licensed their unique dashboard for its Sony Dash. Now Best Buy has a new device – the Infocast – which uses the Chumby dashboard as well. Its on Best Buy’s house label Insignia, sells for $169, and would make a downright smart conversation starter on the desks of Internet radio executives. It looks more than a little like an iPad if you ask me.
The Infocast has an 8 inch touchscreen that is larger than the Chumby or Sony Dash screens. It has access to Pandora and Shoutcast, New York Times, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Photobucket. It even has a sharing feature that enables folks to share apps, photos and more with friends that have similar devices.
CNET calls it a best of breed, and I’m thinking it sounds like a winner for tech savvy family members this Christmas.
A group of Internet radio stations have launched a new site and a promotion to bring awareness to how easy listening to Internet radio has become. Listeners can surf to backyardpartyradio.net and from there select from a group of independent stations’ streams.
Backyard Party Radio Network is planning their first event for Fourth of July weekend. “As friends and family enjoy their time together during the holidays, the Backyard Party Radio Network gives another option for quality entertainment.” says Barry Funkhouser, co-creator of BPRN. The network was an idea created by Funkhouser, founder of Errorfm and Jeff Simmons from Radio23 along with a few others who wanted to find ways to share their audiences. They currently have about 20 stations involved and are looking to grow their group to 30 stations.
The stations involved are all on Shoutcast’s streaming platform and they offer a wide mix of programming. Radio23.org is a non-commercial, free -form radio station that features underground music and culture from all parts of the globe created by dozens of weekly live broadcasters. DirtySouthRadio is a pretty sophisticated looking HipHop station. Errorfm (“It’s not a mistake”) plays IndiePop and LynnBriggsRadio plays Smoothjazz. There are others as well.
The press release says they’re looking for a few more independent stations to join their group, which also intends to sell advertising. It’s great to see smaller stations getting together to grow their audience and develop revenue solutions. May they thrive…