I'm A Live365 Broadcaster, What Now?
Live365 is facing a financial crisis and has laid off most of its staff, according to a report on the website RAIN.
It states that the Internet radio hosting platform is among the online audio entities affected by the pending expiration of rules that included below-market royalty rates for certain organizations.
U.K. website The Register also reported staff cutbacks at Live365 and said the company had issued a statement about the impact of the licensing change: “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.”
There has been widespread concerns for Live365 broadcaster confidence with thousands of broadcasters from the site scrambling for a backup plan in case the streaming platform shuts down. Several users in a Facebook group dedicated to internet broadcasting have described their situation as either 'broadcasting life or death'. Either way, with the introduction of the CRB's new royalty rates, Live365 may price some low-mid sized broadcasters from ever continuing their hobby/passion ever again.
Fortunately there are some alternatives out in the open. Unfortunately they are not as easy as Live365 who handles the streaming server and royalty payments. So what now?
For streaming options, there are many companies that offer SHOUTcast or Icecast streaming servers for low prices. These providers offer instant setup, low fees tailored towards how many listeners you expect and many offer additional features such as:
- Port 80 (handy for your listeners who listen from work or school behind a firewall)
- Auto DJ (for streaming music/shows when you aren't on air)
- Custom Player (to insert on your website, so that anyone, anywhere can listen to your station)
- + Much More!
Remember, if you have any issues with your streaming server, your stream hosting company is the greatest resource. A good hosting company will always help you, or they will point you in the right direction (such as our community forums).
Royalties & Licensing
For licensing options, unfortunately there are not many options. You can choose to cover licensing yourself by contacting SoundExchange, BMI, ASCAP etc... or you can go with a blanket licensing provider.
StreamLicensing offers blanket cover for the USA and Canada. The owner, Marvin, has made some fantastic packages available that start quite affordably from $39.50 per month.
Each package is formulated on the basis of TLH (Total Listening Hours) and Expenses/Revenue. TLH (Total Listening Hours) is equivalent to ATH (Aggregated Tuning Hours) and the two terms are used interchangeably. You will need to work out your TLH from how many listeners your Live365 station had (via the statistics) and work out your expenses/revenue.
After working out these figures, you can then proceed to signing up on StreamLicensing's website.
Promotion & Advertising
Since your station will no longer be listed on Live365, gaining easy new listeners daily, you will need to put some time in for some promotion/advertising of your station.
You will need to create a website to serve as a central base. Many stream hosts and web hosts offer great packages. We recommend reading this guide on how to create your own website from scratch. It's really easy!
Broadcasting World's David Childers has written a great guide on how to get started with Social Media. You can read it here. Platforms such as Facebook, Twitter (see Twittercast) and Instagram are great ways to advertise your station.
You can also list your station on the SHOUTcast and Icecast directories simply by enabling it within your streaming control panel or streaming server software. Station directories such as our own, TuneIn, and more offer great free listings for your station. Be sure to add your station to as many directories as possible to gain maximum exposure!
From here, you're not on your own. There are thousands of other Live365 broadcasters in the same boat as you, even new broadcasters. Our community forums are here to assist you if you ever have a question or need any help.
If you have any extra tips for ex-Live365 broadcasters, please put them in our comments below.