DIY Radio App Stationhead Now Lets Users Record and Archive Broadcasts

Courtesy of Stationhead
     

Last month, Vic Mensa accepted DJ Miss Milan's offer to drop by Stationhead headquarters in Brooklyn and appear on her do-it-yourself streaming broadcast. For 45 minutes, they discussed his punk project with Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, his Chicago upbringing and his fondness for Caribbean accents. But you can't listen to the show. Nobody can. It's lost to history.

Until today, Stationhead's do-it-yourself DJs could not archive their broadcasts for future plays. But the live-radio app, which allows users to talk between Spotify and Apple Music tracks, turned on the "record" function Monday morning, giving users "an entirely new medium of shareable, on-demand, binge-able audio content with full songs," as the company said in a release. "To date, we've been live," says Murray Levison, Stationhead's chief operating officer. "Now you can go on air, play 10 songs, and it will allow you to record that and save it to your profile."

Formed in 2016, Stationhead distinguishes itself from the longstanding digital-radio model by building on top of the Spotify and Apple Music platforms -- every time a DJ broadcasts a song to a listener, it appears as a stream on that listener's account. So, as the company points out, "5M listeners = 5M streams." Stationhead's math creates revenue for everybody, and key record-business execs have endorsed the company: Former Lady Gaga manager and Spotify exec Troy Carter once created his own show and called the app "addictive" at a conference; its investors include Atlantic Records chairman Julie Greenwald and 300 Entertainment CEO Kevin Liles.

"It's all about the creator’s journey and story," said Liles. "These moments should be archived and streamed forever. And with Stationhead, content owners will get paid for every replay, which is how it should be."

The Brooklyn-based company has grown from five to 20 employees and enabled DJs to create 200,000 shows since last November. Its creators hope the archival function will not only give Stationhead DJs more permanence and increase their user numbers but give podcasters an alternative outlet, where they can use music without licensing it. Billboard reported last week that music-focused podcasters avoided playing full songs, because licensing tracks is such an expensive and cumbersome process.

"It goes beyond the live-radio realm and into the podcast realm," says Clint Davis, 40-year-old host of Remnant Radio on Stationhead, a former broadcast DJ in South Africa and Australia. "We run competitions on the show that accumulate points, and now people can listen back. And I listened to my show this morning: 'What do I need to change?' It gives listeners power."

Because Stationhead's model is built on top of existing streaming services, nobody has to worry about licensing -- Spotify and Apple Music have taken care of those issues in building their services. "As long as the streaming service has licenses, that is fine," says Joy Butler, an intellectual-property attorney and author of "The Permission Seeker's Guide Through the Legal Jungle." She adds, though, that many podcasters might not want to limit themselves to a Stationhead-centered model that involves subscribing to either Spotify or Apple Music: "Maybe they want to generate revenue in other ways."

Yet Stationhead DJs remain loyal to the service. One host does a show from her bathtub. A performer leveraged Stationhead to draw 23,000 streams, increasing activity for his catalog by 75 percent. Broadcasters with large social-media followings can convert their followers to Stationhead listeners. "It brings out the entrepreneurial spirit of people saying: 'I want to be known,'" says CEO Ryan Star, a singer-songwriter who envisioned the Stationhead idea with a friend, web designer Jace Kay, after Star had played a Bowery Ballroom show with his band Stage. How will the new archive feature expand the service? Miss Milan explained it succinctly to listeners on her Monday-morning show. "I already have two episodes up there. Go hit one of these episodes and go, 'I like that bitch.'" she said. "Radio on-demand? That's a big wow."


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