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Hi all, hope you all had a good xmas and new year !!!


Ive written an article that im looking for opinions on.... this maybe doesnt affect some of you as badly as me as im guessing most of you play released material most of the time, but in the underground music scene that im in, internet radio is one of the best ways for producers to promote there forthcoming releases and therefore many DJs have access to use these unreleased tunes in there radio shows.


Anyway, see what you think, and let me have any comments or suggestions you have. Cheers






Internet radio has truly taken off in the last few years, with thousands of stations covering every genre of music you can think of. In some underground dance music scenes it has to be said that most stations are built by the artists who perform in the scene and use there station to increase there own promotion. There are lots of stations that do that well and help the other artists who play on there as well, but we must remember this is a very competitive market, so there can be some selfishness that comes through as well.


There are 2 main broadcasting tools available to get a station up and running. Windows Encoder enables the station to embed a live video feed alongside the audio stream, and Shoutcast which is probably the original tool to broadcast audio. Both of these tools are fairly easy for a beginner webdesigner to use to build something that enables people to listen to a live broadcast. Probably due to its speed, Shoutcast has by far the larger number of stations that use its technology.


There are not many DJs or MCs out there who are web designers, as can be seen by a lot of websites built on standard templates, using the same standard techniques for broadcasting using Shoutcast, however they all run in pretty much the same way and enable multiple listeners to tune in, therefore achieving there owners goals.


Looking at music as a whole, and speaking as someone who understands the technology side just as well as the music side, the dance music scene moved primarily from vinyl sales to digital MP3 sales many years ago, but only in recent years have the DJs who play it followed suit. There are still a large number of vinyl-only DJs in more underground forms of dance music like Drum and Bass, Jungle, Breakbeat and some others as well.


As more and more DJs move to using digital technologies to play music, the higher the risks involved in the copying and distribution of producers music which costs the music industry millions if not billions every year. Many of the mainstream labels and distributers have tried to tackle this with varying levels of success, but internet radio has created a whole different league of problems. Most DJs use all the right methods to purchase there tunes or through there contacts with producers in the scene, but all that is blown away if stations dont consider themselves that they are broadcasting copyrighted music through there Windows Encoder or Shoutcast servers.


Alongside when Internet Radio Stations started up there was also a flood of programmers who decided to exploit the ignorance of station owners, by making software to record and copy the music and tunes being played on internet radio. These programs are known as streamrippers. Many of the professional internet stations are well aware of these and alongside there shoutcast streaming providers, have built multiple techniques to spot a 'ripper' and disconnect it from recording the stream. Professional internet stations spend huge amounts of time to keep the rippers out but it is a contant battle as there is always something new out there.


In the underground dance music scene however, station owners are more inclined to turn a blind eye to these 'rippers' as it substantially increases the number of 'listeners' the stream has connected to it. This enables the station to attract bigger artists to perform on there, which makes the 'rippers' goal of aquiring unreleased or in-demand tunes even easier. With most stations broadcasting at 128k as a standard, that is seen as near cd quality and good enough for anyone to listen to, or even pay for a particular tune.


This has had a massive impact on the record labels in the underground scene from even covering there costs, let alone making any form of profit from there artists tunes. So many underground labels, big and small, pass by as they themselves are not aware of the whole scale of the problem thats out there. They are all too aware there there tunes are being leaked, but hopefully now through this article they can see one of the main reasons for that happening.


Is there anything that can be done? With new internet radio stations appearing every day that passes, its a hard task. But there is something that can be done, and thats for the DJs, producers and record labels to be aware that this happens, and that there is ways you can tell the stations that actively protect the music thats being played on them and those that dont.


For shoutcast stations there is a very simple way to spot multiple rippers locked to a stream that anyone can do to look. Normally a station will have multiple listener links to enable someone to tune in (normally through winamp, media player, realplayer and itunes). These links are merely pointers to a text file that can be opened in any text editor (e.g. notepad) and contain the link to the shoutcast stream. A stream link normally looks something like :


Some stations will have more than one stream link in there file, which means they can spread the traffic across multiple servers and possibly different quality streams to cater for a wider audience.


This will show the number listening (and how many unique, the number unique can, but doesnt always, be a pointer of a station generating 'fake' listeners from one pc to boost there numbers).


The second way to spot rippers is the average listen time. Imagine yourself how long you would listen to a radio station for while sitting at your pc or mac... maybe a few hours maximum?? If your seeing a large number of people listining to a stream and the average listen time big as well then thats a key sign that its an automated ripper thats simply recording the stream.


Streamrippers have an auto connect feature that means when a show changes they start a new recording file of the next tune or show (depending how the station controls its title updates), which does mean that a new connection is effectively hidden in with normal listener connections. A good pointer is when a stations archive stream is playing for some time, as that is normally one unbroken stream which therefore shows whether a stream is being infested with rippers.


Possibly the last way for anyone to see if there listener numbers are genuine is to have a look in there chatroom. A chatroom is used on most stations and promoted heavily as a way for listeners to interact with the artist or station. In the same way as FM radio relies on people calling the studio to guess there listener numbers (as there is no scientific method of counting listeners on FM), an internet radio station has a similar theory from its chatroom. If you check some of the more reputable stations you will see that as a rough guide that most stations operate on approx 1:10 ratio of chatroom users to listeners. Fortunately with shoutcast you can see actual numbers listening using the above methods (or by looking at http://www.shoutcast.com), but if a chatroom has 10 people in it and an apparent listener count of 200 then you can clearly see that the ratio is wildly out.


The above is all a bit negative, and there may be genuine reasons for some of the above, but im sure every record label and producer around the world wants to protect there hard work and income by doing everything they can to stamp this out.


As a DJ myself, and also co-owner of internet radio station KRISISDnB.COM, we felt it was important for our own artists and producers to make sure we gave them somewhere safe to play there unreleased tunes without risk of them being used or copied. Weve been running as a station since March 2007 and have fully embraced the technologies available to keep our stream with simply genuine listeners locked. Its about time everyone else who claims to be part of the music industry by running a station acts responsibly and does the same.


We recommend that all producers read this and take note, its your tunes that are at risk. Not many other stations would publish this, and if you want more information on streamrippers then google has tons more.

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Looks pretty good to Me ... The content is maybe a little too long ...

I have sometimes the idea to read twice the same


Maybe important to add is :

- that many streamrippers even can be sheduled to "rip" a particular song or artist when it is played at "different" stations ... the best of parts of these recording can be made to 1 new MP3


Overall : very nice job !

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