Test Drive: Guvera’s DJ broadcast app Fradio

Fradio screenshotAspiring DJs may have a new app to check out. Fradio was developed by Australian streaming service Guvera, and it also has support from celebrity DJs Steve Aoki, A-Trak, and Crookerill. With such an interesting premise and pedigree, and as a part-time DJ myself, I figured this was worth a look.

I started by turning the proverbial dial. Since it only just launched today, the number of people trying their hand behind the decks is pretty small, but there will be some more established talent dropping by for planned appearances. For instance, Fradio is broadcasting live from Austin Party Weekend.

Fradio has the option to be more immediately interactive with listeners than terrestrial radio. When you’re listening to a member’s broadcast, you can tap the microphone button to send a talk request to the DJ. If they accept, you can chat with them during the broadcast stream. There’s also an option to make requests by tapping the music note button. If the DJ is actually present and engaged with the show and audience, this has some fun potential as a tastemaker tool.

On the broadcasting side, you set all the details about your show beforehand: a title, a description (where mood and genre hashtags are encouraged), and even a location if you want. While the entire Guvera catalog is available to fill out the playlist, it does have some restrictions. Shows must have at least three hours of music queued, and DJs can only share up to three tracks from a single album and only four tracks from a single artist.

Taking full advantage of the broadcasting requires a subscription to Guvera. Unless you’re a Platinum member, you can’t control the ordering of your songs. You can turn a playlist of your own into a show, but it’s only broadcast on shuffle and you have to separately go into Guvera and make the playlist. Without paying, here’s no other ability to sort for flow or mood. Which is kind of a major part of being a DJ.

Fradio is an interesting riff on the more common playlisting music services. You’re still creating sets of music, but the angle of giving live performance and being an amateur DJ could draw out interest. Whether that interest will extend to paying the $10-a-month subscription is unclear. That’s a far sight cheaper than many other established platforms for broadcasting online, but with Guvera’s limited catalog and the small audience base so far, it’s hard to predict whether Fradio will take off as an alternative. It seems to be successful so far in at least getting Guvera’s name and product in front of more U.S. listeners, and, probably the more desired audience, U.S. artists and labels.

Anna Washenko