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Original author(s)Nullsoft (Stephen 'Tag' Loomis, Tom Pepper and Justin Frankel)
Stable release
2.6.1 (Build 777) / January 30, 2022; 2 years ago (2022-01-30)[1]
TypeStreaming media

Shoutcast (formerly SHOUTcast) is a service for streaming media over the internet to media players, using its own cross-platform proprietary software. It allows digital audio content, primarily in MP3 or High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding format. The most common use of Shoutcast is for creating or listening to Internet audio broadcasts; however, there are also video streams.[2] The software is available to use for free or as a paid cloud service with additional professional features.[3]

In the early days of esports for video games, Shoutcast was used by some to stream play-by-play commentary, leading to the term "shoutcaster" as a name for esports commentators.[4]


Created in 1998,[5] Shoutcast's streaming protocol uses metadata tags and responses that all start with ICY, which stands for "I Can Yell." Nullsoft was purchased by AOL on June 1, 1999.

On January 14, 2014, AOL sold Nullsoft to Belgian online radio aggregator Radionomy Group; no financial details were publicly announced.[6][7][8] In 2018 the software was rebranded from its original name of SHOUTcast to Shoutcast. In 2020 Radionomy shut down its own streaming service and migrated to the Shoutcast platform.[citation needed]


The Shoutcast software uses a client–server model, with each component communicating via a network protocol that intermingles audio or video data with metadata such as song titles and the station name. It uses HTTP as a transport protocol.

Shoutcast servers and clients are available for FreeBSD, Linux, macOS, Microsoft Windows, and Solaris. There are client-only versions for Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS (iPad, iPhone), Palm OS and webOS (Radio Hibiki), PlayStation Portable, Windows Mobile, Symbian S60 and UIQ,[9] Nintendo DS (DSOrganize), and Wii.[needs update]

The output format is supported by multiple clients, including Nullsoft's own Winamp as well as Amarok, Exaile, foobar2000, iTunes, Songbird, Totem, XMMS, and Zinf. If the client does not support the Shoutcast protocol, then the Shoutcast server sends the stream without the metadata, allowing it to be heard and viewed in clients such as Windows Media Player. Shoutcast servers are usually linked to by means of playlist files, which are small text files (usually with extensions .pls or .m3u) that contain the URL of the Shoutcast server. When that URL is visited in a Web browser which identifies itself as Mozilla-compatible (as most do), the server will return a generated Shoutcast server info/status page, rather than streaming audio.

In 2010 VideoLAN dropped support for Shoutcast from VLC Player at AOL's request, as Shoutcast's license forbade its integration into other software that contained free or open-source components, additionally specifying that it "forces us to integrate the spyware and adware based Shoutcast Radio Toolbar inside your browser".[10] An alternative to Shoutcast is Icecast[11]


A feature of Shoutcast servers is the ability to optionally publish server information, including the current number of listeners, in a directory of stations that Shoutcast maintains on their website. Site visitors can pick a station to listen to and download a playlist file for use in their own Shoutcast-capable media player.

In 2011 up to 900,000 concurrent listeners could be seen on public Shoutcast streams during peak hours.[needs update] The maximum and minimum number of listeners fluctuates widely during a day, with roughly three times as many listeners during peak hours as at low use times.[citation needed]

As of June 2022 85,317 stations were streaming using Shoutcast.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "DNAS 2.1.6 Build 777 Changelog". Shoutcast Yellow Pages. 2022-01-30.
  2. ^ "Can I stream video through SHOUTcast? | Internet Radio & Audio Streaming". www.asuracast.com. Retrieved 2017-11-15.[permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "Shoutcast - Pricing". Shoutcast. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  4. ^ Hill, Nathan (December 7, 2017). "The Overwatch Videogame League Aims to Become the New NFL". Wired. Retrieved December 7, 2017.
  5. ^ "Internet Radio -- Computers Help You Hear What Might Be Broadcasts | The Seattle Times". archive.seattletimes.com.
  6. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (1 January 2014). "AOL Sells Winamp And Shoutcast Music Services To Online Radio Aggregator Radionomy". TechCrunch. AOL.
  7. ^ "Winamp lives on after acquisition by Radionomy". The Verge. 14 January 2014. Retrieved 14 January 2014.
  8. ^ "Radionomy + SHOUTcast?". Broadcasting World. Retrieved 16 January 2014.
  9. ^ "Internet Radio | PSP (PlayStation Portable)".
  10. ^ "Press Release about Shoutcast Removal in VLC". VideoLAN. January 2010. Retrieved 8 June 2022.
  11. ^ "Differences between shoutcast and Icecast". www.gossdhosting.com.
  12. ^ "Shoutcast". Shoutcast. Retrieved 8 June 2022.

External links[edit]