Archive for the ‘Website News’ Category

Off The Air (Again)

Later today, July 25 2017, I’ll be shutting down The Rock Party (a second time).

It looked like Radionomy was a service that would allow The Rock Party to continue, but on further investigation, it turns out that they talk a big game but don’t have the cards. They are not at all what they promote, and not at all what we need for therockparty.com. We wouldn’t mind paying for this service without these restrictions, but one restriction is that you must suffer all these restrictions — there are no options to pay for alternatives.

As a result, later today, therockparty.com will stop broadcasting again, at least until such time as a solution can be found that resolves the licensing nightmare for small independent stations.

________________________

Radionomy says:
Music Licensing Coverage
We have got you covered. We cover all the music licensing necessary to stream online. You just program the music and content you love.
Reality:
Seems to cover licensing in the US only, or … not clear… and intentionally blocked in some countries. Not licensed in some (most?) of the countries receiving broadcast. This is a showstopper for us, the only reason Radionomy looked exciting for The Rock Party was because of the statement above, which appears to be completely false.

Radionomy says:
Free
We are totally free with absolutely no listener limits.
Reality:
The above is a maximum. If you’re a big station, where they can generate advertising revenue, they’ll have you. If you are below their premiere station level of 130 listener hours per day, they give you 9 months to invest your time and energy into making playlists, shows, uploading music, making promos, promoting your station, and then they unceremoniously just delete your station and all of your music. They offer no option to actually pay to remain on the air, and there is no way we’re going to spend nine months trying to make listener levels reach their minimum levels, only to have them just delete the station. Sorry, but not going there.

Radionomy says:
Online Automation/Scheduler
Use the RadioManager online to manage your station 24/7. Or go live! Explore our professional radio scheduler to make your station sound exactly how you want it.
Reality:
You need to play a 2-minute (exactly) track, twice per hour. This track cannot be repeated with the same title or artist within a 3 hour period or you get emails threatening deletion of your station. These aren’t ads or Radionomy promos, they don’t seem to have any real function except to mess up your playlist or cost you a lot of time trying to find songs or something else that is exactly 2-minutes long. You know, the kind of thing that is likely to get listeners to find something else to listen to.

Let’s Rock!

This is quite unexpected, but it seems most of the licensing issues (see January 20 post) that forced this station down can be easily resolved by hosting The Rock Party on the Radionomy broadcast service. We’ve done this, and uploaded enough music to begin a test. As this seems to be going well (except for not having enough music variety uploaded yet), it seems we can now say that The Rock Party is back!

You can find the station by searching for “rockparty” on Radionomy, or listen by using the built-in web player in the top-right corner of therockparty.com website. You can also find customize radio station pages at:

http://therockpartycom.playtheradio.com/

or at

http://www.radionomy.com/TheRockPartycom.

You can also listen to the stream directly via:
http://listen.radionomy.com/therockpartycom

When listening with an in-world viewer within a virtual world, set the land parcel’s music URL to:

http://streaming.radionomy.com/TheRockPartycom

The station will once again broadcast 24 x 7 and now supports unlimited listeners, and the ability to schedule regular shows, such as an hour of ballads in the morning, party songs in the evening, and hard rock at the midnight hour, maybe blues rock for an hour at noon, etc. We’re looking forward to being able to set up a specific schedule and do a more proper job of it all. This is exactly what we hoped might happen; the surprise is that it’s only been 5 months since the decision to shut down… WE’RE BACK!

There are lots of loose ends to tie up, such as the server status and song history links on the right side of the web page. The station pages linked above do show some of that, but it’s not a complete replacement for the old functionality. Improvements to come.

However, this might be short-lived again, given pressure by the music industry (such as Sony in this lawsuit against Radionomy). The article in that link is over a year old though, so let’s be optimistic and enjoy!

In recent years, the large corporations running the recording industry have been in a bit of a panic, as more and more recording artists realize the services they provide no longer justify the large percentages these companies claim in order to get artists published.  Furthermore, the Internet boom has enabled artists to publish their music much more easily and cheaply, to connect more directly with their fans, and to spread awareness of their new music to others.  This is a direct threat to the record companies who have responded with legal moves to add further restrictions and costs in an era where they must adapt to a looser grip, or die. The larger members of the recording industry have instead tightened their grip, circling wagons, in an attempt to protect what they had in the past.

A few years ago, the courts ruled in favor of the music publishing industry, but in a manner that made it virtually impossible for small independent and non-profit Internet radio stations to continue, however it looked like the music publishing industry understood that it was in their best interests to promote their music, and supported a temporary delay in enforcing their legal win. However, this did not seem to go anywhere, and this station was investigating whether it would be technically possible to use Live365 to continue broadcast, since that was the only solution found which handled the licensing (at least US licensing) in a simple way for stations.

However, in the United States, the Copyright Review Board has decided to drop the special provisions for small broadcasters.  This has pretty much ended Live365’s ability to provide a service to small broadcasters, and caused many of their investors to bail, resulting in staff losses at Live365. In a recent posting, Live365 was blunt:

For 17 years, Live365 has offered small webcasters the opportunity to stream music and talk content, providing an alternative distribution channel for diverse, quality content on the Internet in a legally responsible way.
 
Recently, the Copyright Royalty Board, the governing entity for establishing the sound recording royalty rates that are paid to copyright holders, has published the new rates for 2016-20. The previous provisions for small webcasters to opt for a percentage of revenue model were not renewed. The current provisions end at the end of 2015. The absence of this license will make legally streaming copyrighted musical content prohibitively expensive for many small to mid-sized Internet broadcasters. Live365 relies on this license for many of their broadcast partners and, as such, has hard decisions to make regarding their future in the streaming industry.

(emphasis added)

Click here for the full press release from Live365.

As Live365 was pretty much the final option for this small non-profit, ad-free Internet radio station, there are no legal options remaining.

I will be keeping the music stream, for now, but solely for personal use, and will not be publishing the stream information on the web or including the pop-out Flash-based music player as of the end of the month.  I will also be removing the options that show it listed as a station in the various search listings.

After many, many years of (mostly) 24×7 broadcast, this music stream will cease to be an Internet radio “station”.  I hope the music industry is happy that it is shutting down those who promoted their artists, for free.

Due to reliability problems with the design of live365.com, as of today, therockparty.com will no longer be available there.  There were already many other ways to listen to The Rock Party, and adding an unreliable method was not in anyone’s best interest.

The problems at live365.com were mostly related to their orientation towards stations they hosted, rather than those doing live broadcasts.  They also reported potential DMCA warnings in that the station promos (all 30 seconds or less) did not have “album information”.  But the large issue was that if there was a problem sending the broadcast stream, Live365 would automatically change the setting from “live” to “basic” (meaning hosted by them), which meant that there was no broadcast by The Rock Party on Live365 until the station was manually set back to “live”.  After the third time this occurred, and after considerable “dead air” on Live365, it was decided that Live365 was not an appropriate hosting vehicle for The Rock Party.  TRP is no longer available on Live365.

To listen to The Rock Party, please use the pop-out player in the upper-right area of therockparty.com website, or any Shoutcast-compatible player, including Windows Media Player, iTunes, WinAMP, or in any web browser on the TuneIn Radio website page for The Rock Party, or by searching the shoutcast.com website itself for “The Rock Party”.

Sorry for the temporary disruption of this website overnight. The final step in updates to therockparty.com was to move the actual website from its Hostgator hosting to the new A2 Hosting servers.  This didn’t quite go as planned, for reasons that were not due to either hosting company, but rather the complexities of moving a WordPress site with customized themes and many plugins and custom database setup. Fortunately, the problems were temporary and resolved in a few hours. It’s back!

The actual radio station was streaming normally during this time, and listeners were not affected, unless they were trying to listen via the website.  In the worst case, The Rock Party stream itself should always still be available at http://listen.therockparty.com:10014/ for Internet music stream players and virtual world parcel settings. From a web browser, it can also be found on the shoutcast.com website with a search for “rock party”.

We’re very pleased with the new A2 Hosting servers, fast machines loading the website from solid-state drives (SSDs) and further performance improvements are coming.

As a bonus, you no longer need to remember the port number (although the other links with the ports will still work), the following subdomains are much easier to remember:

http://status.therockparty.com/   – server status

http://history.therockparty.com/  – song history

http://stream.therockparty.com/  – the music stream itself

Hopefully this is the last change for a while. 😉