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Live365 is back for real, emerging into public webcaster sign-up


Iconic webcasting platform Live365, which went out of business in January, 2016, and reemerged under new ownership in August, has announced that the platform is now open to webcaster sign-ups following a limited roll-out that began in January.

Content delivery network EmpireStreaming acquired Live365 in July of last year; Jon Stephenson is Empire’s owner. “By restoring the platform, we’re giving small webcasters a home to build diverse, creative content while we handle the complex licensing, monetization, and distribution. Live365 has a renewed passion to give webcasters a voice in internet radio,” Stephenson said in a statement.

The company is operating with a staff of 15 people.

The delayed full launch was intended to give broadcast partners an opportunity to get on the internet radio hosting platform first. Starting today Live365 is open to anyone who desires to start an online radio station, providing a suite of production tools and coverage of music royalties.

On the business side, Live365 makes its money in two ways: Station subscriptions, and advertising. Station owners can choose whether to have an ad-free or commercialized station; the monthly fee is higher for running ad-free playlists. the monthly webcasting charge runs from $59 to $274 depending on listening hours, storage space, and the advertising question. Unlimited bandwidth comes at no charge in all plans.

The Live365 listening app is available now for Apple iOS devices, and the announcement promises distribution in Android, Amazon Alexa, and Sonos later this year.

The saga of Live365 represents the story of small webcasting. “Small” is not a judgmental term in this case; the small webcasting category was defined by U.S. regulations, with a piece of legislation that protected low-revenue online stations with a special royalty rate for the use of music recordings. That law expired at the end of 2015, which, in combination with a jump in government-regulated webcasting royalty rates to big webcasters like Pandora, drove Live365 quickly out of business. The restoration of Live365, a brand which emblemizes semi-pro and hobby webcasting (as well as broadcast streams), is good news to passionate semi-professional radio operators — and also to listeners who appreciate a diverse range of internet radio programming.

 

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Brad Hill

6 Comments

  1. Quoting the Live365 website, “Full licensing coverage in the United States for SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC for your music.” So you either have to license your broadcast elsewhere if you plan to reach people outside the U.S. or geofence the rest of the world.

    • That has always been the case for any online music service. Rights are territorial, and even if you do direct label deals and negotiate worldwide rights for the sound recording, you’d still have to go territory by territory to negotiate the public performance rights for the composition.

  2. Brad – do you know under what category Live365 is now paying SoundExchange?

  3. Soon after this article was published, Live365 took down from its site all references to the promised distribution via Android, Amazon Alexa, and Sonos. Can you provide a status report on this aspect of Live365’s return?

  4. Hi Jeff – we’re actively working on our distribution throughout 2017.
    Android – developed in house, and will be available in a few weeks or less
    Alexa Skill – talking with third party vendors to develop
    SONOS – currently reviewing SONOS API documentation and planning into sprints

    Thanks for your support.

    Cheers, Jon

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