|Jon Stephenson (CEO)|
LIVE365 is an Internet radio broadcasting and listening network where users are able to create their own online radio stations, or choose to listen to thousands of human curated stations created by people from around the globe. LIVE365 is unique in that online radio stations on the LIVE365 network were created and managed by music and talk enthusiasts, including both hobbyists and professional broadcasters. LIVE365 also has many well established AM and FM stations that utilized the LIVE365 broadcasting platform to simulcast their terrestrial radio streams via the Live365 distribution network. The Live365 network also features radio stations from well-known artists such as Johnny Cash, David Byrne, Pat Metheny, Jethro Tull, Frank Zappa, and more. LIVE365 was created in 1999, and remains one of the longest running internet radio websites for listeners and broadcasters.
With the pending expiration of the lower royalty rate allowed for small broadcasters, investors removed their support of the company. In late December 2015, LIVE365 laid off most of its employees and vacated its office, and the few remaining employees were working from home. On January 31, 2016 LIVE365 ceased webcasting. LIVE365's website now redirects listeners and users to a list of competing services. The shutdown of LIVE365 also affected terrestrial AM and FM stations that used LIVE365, causing them to disperse to other live streams. Nearly a year to the day after its closure, LIVE365 has relaunched its site and streaming services.
On January 6, 2018, Live365 was reorganized under Media Creek Inc., a Delaware-based holding company.
Nanocosm Inc. (the parent company of Live365) was a technology startup founded by two roommates from the Princeton class of 1981, Alex Sanford and Steve Follmer, whose initial product was NanoHome, a 3D "Virtual Home" website featuring 3D homepages on the World Wide Web. The first release of Live365 was built by a small skunkworks team of workers at Nanocosm; it had its beginnings in a hosted community radio project developed by Nanocosm employee Andy Volk in his free time using Shoutcast technology, and later modified by employee Brian Lomeland. In 1998, Andy Volk shared the idea with Nanocosm CTO Peter Rothman, and they developed the concept for a new large-scale hosted community radio service dubbed Live365. Live365's explosive initial growth after launch in July 1999 quickly eclipsed NanoHome, and the company soon shifted to solely focus on Live365 and online audio streaming services.
At launch, broadcasting and listening on Live365 was free of charge. Stations had a maximum listener cap of 365 simultaneous listeners and 365 megabytes of storage for music and audio. In September 2001, Live365 began charging for use of its broadcasting services to remain financially viable in the wake of rising music royalty costs. More expensive plans allowed stations to have more simultaneous listeners and a greater amount of music file storage space. Members who joined before September 2001 could continue broadcasting with their original package for free. This model would later be replaced with one in which all members pay, but those who joined before September 2001 received a discount. In March 2003, Live365 launched their commercial-free membership called VIP, giving millions of listeners the opportunity for an enhanced listening experience. Since that time, Live365 has continued to progress as an internet broadcasting and listening leader. (to see more recent Live365 history, please view the Company Milestones section below)
Closure and reopening
The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 expired in January 2016, ending a 10-year period in which smaller online radio stations, Live365 among them, could pay reduced royalties to labels. On January 31, 2016, webcasters who are governed by rules adopted by the Copyright Royalty Board were required to pay to SoundExchange an annual, nonrefundable minimum fee of $500 for each channel and station, the fee for services with greater than 100 stations or channels being $50,000 annual.
In July 2016, Live365 was acquired by Jon Stephenson, owner of content delivery network EmpireStreaming. The following month, the website returned to its live status with a possible relaunch occurs.
An article dated May 22, 2017 appeared on the site's official Twitter page the next day, and begins with the following: "You may have heard the buzz that Live365 is officially back! Open sign-ups launched last week after giving former broadcasters from the “old” Live365 a chance to restart their stations. Now anyone with an internet connection can create a legal internet radio station in a matter of minutes by joining Live365."
Services and Features
Live365 offered a variety of music and talk (over 260 genres) from hundreds of countries ranging from Rock, Classical, Jazz, Electronic, Country, Gospel, Pop, Hip-Hop/Rap, R&B, International, Reggae, Broadway, Meditation, Oldies, Talk, and hundreds of others. Users were able to listen to thousands of stations on the Live365 radio network for free with in-stream audio ads included to cover a portion of the music royalty and streaming costs. When listeners found a station they enjoy, they were able to add that station to their presets to easily access and listen to that station at any time. Live365 also offered personalized recommendations so that listeners could discover music and other content from thousands of unique human powered radio stations. Live365 is available for listening on the web and across many mobile and home streaming devices including iPhone, iPad, Android, Roku, Kindle Fire, TiVo, and WDTV.
Live365 also offered a paid listener subscription service called "VIP", which featured commercial-free listening across thousands of Live365 music and talk radio stations. Users could try a free 5 day VIP membership trial by registering with a valid e-mail address on the Live365 registration page.
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Live365 was an internet radio broadcasting leader, having broadcast continuously since 1999 until it demise on January 31, 2016. Live365 empowered anyone (individuals, musicians, businesses, brands, AM/FM stations, and more) to create and monetize their own online radio station by providing users with the broadcasting platform, software, and tools to become their own radio DJ. Users had the ability to host their own live broadcast or they could upload and build their own playlist of music and/or talk content and stream it to the world 24/7. Through the Live365 distribution network, broadcasters could reach millions of listeners worldwide via web, mobile, and streaming devices.
Users that were interested in starting their own online station could sign up for a free 7 day trial on select broadcasting packages. Each broadcast package differentiated in price depending on the features and capabilities of the package that best suits their needs. From the most basic Personal Broadcasting to advanced broadcaster, Live365 provided the tools and features for anyone to build their own online music or talk radio station including:
- Ability to Go Live on the Microphone
- 24/7 Streaming of Pre-Recorded Music or Talk Content
- Storage and Hosting for Content Files
- Great Sound Quality
- Complete Music Royalty Coverage
- Mobile and Desktop Apps/Software
- Detailed Station Statistics
- Customizable Players and Station Pages
- Distribution on Multiple Platforms Including iTunes Radio
- 3 Ways to Earn Money: Subscription Referrals, Listener Rewards, Ad-Revenue Sharing
Live365 was an officially licensed ASCAP, BMI and SESAC site. Live365 paid music royalties to labels, artists, songwriters, and publishers through established royalty collection organizations including ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and SoundExchange.
In October 2011, Live365 created the Pro Points rewards program allowing Pro broadcasters to carry Live365 audio ads and earn $1,000 each time an ad milestone is reached. There is no additional fee to participate in the program, and broadcasters may opt-in (or out) at any time. One ad impression = One point. Points carry over each month and don't reset until a broadcaster has reached the milestone needed for the $1,000 reward.
In 2013, Live365 released a new first of its kind mobile app for broadcasters called Studio365 for Mobile, enabling Live365 broadcasters to manage their radio station anywhere they go. Features of the Studio365 app include the ability to create, preview, and manage Shout Outs, update station profile, update pre-rolls and station ID messages, check listening stats, share stations, and more.
Mobile and Home Devices
- July 1999: Developed originally as a virtual home environment named Nanohome, Live365 was created as a side project to create a form of online community radio. After popular public demand, focus shifted to developing Live365 full-time.
- October 1999: Basic mode broadcasting technology released to broadcasters. Technology noted as first of its kind for streaming internet broadcasts.
- November 1999: Live365 makes the cover of Billboard magazine
- 2001: New broadcasters’ packages upgraded, allowing for more storage space and simultaneous listeners. Previous limited space included 365 MB for storage and 365 simultaneous listeners.
- 2002: Royalty rights continue to climb for internet radio services. Live365 fights back by airing public service announcements about increasing royalty rates on their stations.
- March 2003: Launches ad-free VIP membership service (originally called Preferred Membership)
- November 2003: Releases Radio365 – desktop player for Mac
- March 2004: Releases Radio365 – desktop player for Windows
- August 2005: Launches on TiVo streaming devices
- June 2007: Copyright Royalty Board hearings in Washington, D.C. Live365 joins other internet radio companies in opposing higher music royalty rates.
- November 2007: Windows mobile app released
- April 2009: Mobile app for iPhone released.
- October 2009: Celebrates 10 years of on air broadcasting
- July 2010: Website re-design with an updated logo design. The new design includes an embedded audio player that’s accessible from every page of the website. The player features album art, recommendations, and sharing features including Facebook, Twitter, Presets, and improved station search.
- October 16, 2010: Live365 brings together seasoned and novice broadcasters at the Broadcaster Roadshow. Attendants enjoyed insights on the internet radio industry and more.
- November 16, 2010: Releases two new targeted websites: The female centric Athena365, and MyGen365, an internet radio site dedicated to baby boomers.
- April 7, 2011: Next generation of Live365 Radio iPhone app released
- June 28, 2011: Mobile app for Android devices released
- September 2011: Begins streaming on Roku devices
- October 2011: Launches Pro Points program paying Professional Broadcasters for reaching certain milestones
- December 2011: Live365 app released on Amazon Kindle Fire devices
- April 2012: Releases multi-platform desktop player called Live365 Desktop
- August 2012: Launches dedicated iPad app
- March 2013: Launches Studio365 mobile app empowering online broadcasters to manage their radio station anywhere they go
- January 31, 2016: Operations terminated due to imposition of higher royalty rates
- July 2016: We are music curation. The fun isn't over yet. Live365 will be right back.
- Brad Hill (February 1, 2016). "Live365 suffers a collision of misfortunes, lays off most employees and vacates office". Kurt Hanson's Radio & Internet News. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- Doug Irwin (January 9, 2017). "Live365.com Is Back!". Radio Magazine. Retrieved January 28, 2017.
- "2016 Broadcasters Calendar" (PDF). wbklaw.com. Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- "commercial webcaster 2016 rates". soundexchange.com. soundexchange. Retrieved February 1, 2016.
- "Web Radio Pioneer Live365 Is Returning -- But to What?". Billboard. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
-  Archived May 28, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- Pro Broadcasting
- "Studio365 Mobile App". Live365. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
- "Devices". Live365. Retrieved December 23, 2015.
- "Net radio ruling fails to satisfy". CNN Money. CNN.com. June 21, 2002. Retrieved January 30, 2007.
- "Live365 Announces Launch of New Website". Broadcasting World. Broadcasting World. July 22, 2010. Retrieved July 22, 2010.