Rumors of an upcoming Apple Internet radio service is a reminder that radio is still a hotbed of innovation. Now the U.S. is getting its first glimpse at an Internet radio aggregator that is trying to change how people create their own online radio broadcasts.
Launched in 2008, Paris-based Radionomy has put up decent numbers before it arrived in the US: over 7,000 stations, 13 million unique listeners and over 92 million listening sessions each month.
Not only does Radionomy face established Internet radio services like Pandora in the US, it must also compete with well-known brands such as Live365 in the self-broadcasting segment. "It's a big challenge," VP of Business Development Thierry Ascarez tells Billboard.biz. "But we think our model is quite unique."
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Its two big selling points, Ascarez tells me, are that it's free for producers and it's a browser-based tool that requires no software. Live365 starts at $3.95 per month for personal broadcasting and professional broadcasting plans can run in the thousands of dollars per month
Radionomy gives producers the tools to broadcast live, manages the payments of royalties, offers a library of 80,000 songs and provides storage for programmers who want to provide their own songs. Radionomy shares with producers the revenue generates by inserting audio advertisements - using the TargetSpot service - into webcasts.
The service is also a destination for listeners. The arrival of the US service coincides with a facelift. American users of the service will see a sleek interface with colorful background images that look like the Microsoft Bing search engine. In fact, the revamped Radionomy works like a search engine. Type in a keyword, such as a genre or an artist name, and Radionomy returns a list of stations. The way Radionomy aggregates and simplifies the search process is like that off US-based Internet radio service TuneIn Radio (which boasted 40 million users in August).
Radionomy is distributed through popular aggregator TuneIn as well as online radio directories StreamFinder and Radiopaq.