||This article may require cleanup to meet Wikipedia's quality standards. (September 2009)|
|First air date||2000|
SomaFM is a listener-supported, commercial-free Internet-only streaming music station, which started broadcasting out of founder Rusty Hodge's basement garage in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. SomaFM broadcasts electronic music, indie rock and lounge music, among other genres.
SomaFM began as a micro-power radio station broadcast at the Burning Man festival in 1999. The response to the project was sufficiently positive that Rusty Hodge launched it as a full-time internet radio station in February 2000. Taking its name from the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco and Soma, "perfect pleasure drug" from Brave New World, and marketed entirely by word of mouth, SomaFM's twelve channels reached a peak listenership of 10,000 concurrent listeners by 2002. SomaFM reports nearly 6 million "listener hours" every month.
List of Stations
SomaFM initially offered nine channels of music, which has now grown to over thirty, plus three seasonal channels. The most popular channel is Groove Salad, with well over 4000 average concurrent listeners in 2010. Most channels play genres that are rarely heard on commercial radio or are "not being done right" according to Hodge.
|Secret Agent||Lounge/jazz with a 1960's spy theme||2000|
|cliqhop idm||Intelligent dance music||2002|
|Indie Pop Rocks||Indie pop/indie rock||2002|
|Sonic Universe||Modern jazz/fringes of jazz/nordic jazz||2008|
|Digitalis||Self produced indie rock and electronic music||2009|
|Space Station Soma||Ambient space music||2009|
|Illinois Street Lounge||Lounge||2009|
|The Trip||Classic trance/progressive trance. Formerly known as "Tag's Trance Trip"||2009|
|Mission Control||Ambient music mixed with the sounds of NASA's mission broadcasts and live shuttle coverage||2009|
|Suburbs of Goa||Desi/Arabic-influenced worldbeat||2009|
|Underground 80s||Early 80s British synthpop and new wave||2010|
|BAGeL Radio||Alternative rock/post-punk/indie rock/noise pop. Formerly known as "480 Minutes".||2011|
|South by Soma||Music by artists from the SXSW Festival||2012|
|SF 10–33||Ambient music mixed with the sounds of San Francisco public safety radio traffic||2012|
|Black Rock FM||The prototype broadcast for 102.3FM in Black Rock City for the 2012 Burning Man Festival||2012|
|Dub Step Beyond||Dubstep, dub, and other bass driven electronic music||2012|
|Folk Forward||Indie folk, alternate folk, and the occasional folk classics||2013|
|Earwaves||Early electronic music/avant-garde music/computer music||2013|
|Iceland Airwaves||Music by artists from the Iceland Airwaves festival||2013|
|DEF CON Radio||Music from DEF CON's chill room, provided by SomaFM||2013|
|Seven Inch Soul||Classic soul music||2014|
|Christmas Rocks||Christmas themed indie/alternative rock||Seasonal|
|Xmas in Frisco||Eclectic Christmas themed music||Seasonal|
|Christmas Lounge||Christmas themed lounge music||Seasonal|
Awards and Credits
DJ Elise Nordling, Music Director and DJ of SomaFM's "Indie Pop Rocks!" station, was awarded the San Francisco Bay Guardian's "Best DJ of the Bay" award in 2005, 2007, and 2009. In 2007, they wrote, in part: "DJ Elise is renowned for her impeccable taste, encompassing everything from bleeding-edge unsigned bands to classic small-label favorites... Because of this pioneer's curatorship, Indie Pop Rocks! has become required listening on a global scale."
The San Francisco Bay Guardian also awarded SomaFM a "Best of the Bay" award in 2005 for "Best Way to Avoid the Top 40."
SomaFM makes a two hour track history list for each station available on the station's subpage on the website. Longer station history listings are available through per station Twitter accounts accessible through a link near the bottom of each stream's song history page.
Conflict with SoundExchange
In May 2002, the DMCA CARP rate ruling came into effect, requiring internet broadcasters to pay a per song per listener royalty to SoundExchange for the performance of the sound recording, retroactively through October 1998. Hodge estimated that the station could have been forced to pay over $1,000 USD per day to continue operations. The royalty was later reduced by half, but that rate still would require payments by SomaFM that exceeded their revenues.
Subsequently, Congress passed the Small Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002 (SWSA) on November 15, 2002, which enabled small webcasters to negotiate a lower rate with SoundExchange. SomaFM resumed broadcasting in late November 2002 under this new royalty structure.
As of December 2008, SomaFM has not yet settled with SoundExchange.
- Hodge, Rusty. "Donate to SomaFM! Support Commercial-Free Internet Radio". Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- "somafm.com/about". somafm.com. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "somafm.com/about". somafm.com. Retrieved 6 August 2014.
- "Poll Positions". 2007. Archived from the original on 2009-04-18. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- "Testimony of Mr. Don Henley". United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary. 2002-05-15. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- "Senate, House Pass Bill To End Webcasting Crisis". Archived from the original on 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- "Notification of Agreement Under the Small Webcaster Settlement Act of 2002". United States Copyright Office. 2002-12-24. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- Jake Ward (2007-06-25). "The Sounds of Silence Will be Heard By Millions" (PDF). SaveNetRadio. Archived from the original on 2008-07-23. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- "The Sounds of Silence Will Be Heard by Millions". PR Newswire. 2007-06-25. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- Hodge, Rusty (2008-12-10). "SoundExchange Royalty Update". Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- SomaFM website
- Coomey, Chris (2004-06-30). "Move over, pirate radio from a Bernal Heights garage, Internet station SomaFM plays tunes for the whole wide world, and its all perfectly legal". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- Mieszkowski, Katharine (2002-03-26). "Web radio's last stand". Technology and Business (Salon.com). Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- marx (2002-06-21). "RIAA kills US-based Internet radio". Kuro5hin. Retrieved 2013-08-08.