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Over the Net Radio

January 12, 2010 8:32:38.377

Spotted in Doc Searls Weblog:

The system isn't one. It's all very ad hoc and not very reliable. Nobody yet has the right formula to reconcile their own costs and programming with the barely-known users and usages out there. How many streams should they support? Should they stream at 128kb and be audible only over ethernet and good broadband land connecitons? Should they stream in lo-fi at 24kb or 32kb so they stay audible on iPhones over 3G connections after those go away and the connection drops down to GPRS? (That's my recommendation, generally.) Should they have multiple streams? (I also recommend that.) For radio on the Net (which also includes podcasting and on-demand), there isn't enough common usage yet, much less common wisdom about how to serve it on the supply side. It's like AM radio in 1924. The difference is that much more of it is outside regulatory control. The rules that matter are copyright more than engineering. Ever notice how little popular (or even known) music is on podcast? Thank the DMCA for that one.

I don't follow this field like Searls does, but I can certainly note that I listen to a whole lot less radio. I tend to have one of three things on, whether I'm in my home office or the car:

  • iTunes
  • Pandora
  • AM Radio (I periodically listen to talk radio to get an idea as to what the outrage of the day is)

The thing I spent most of my younger years with - music radio - I almost never have that on. As Searls says though, things are in a very ad-hoc state right now, and they haven't settled down into anything like what they'll look like in, say, 10 years. Getting rid of the DMCA would help a lot, but I don't expect that to happen. Too bad, really; the whole shape of the future is constrained by that stupidity.

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posted by James Robertson

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