|Headquarters||San Francisco, CA|
|Rusty Hodge, Founder|
SomaFM is an independent Internet-only streaming group of radio channels, supported entirely with donations from listeners. SomaFM originally started broadcasting out of founder Rusty Hodge's basement garage in the Bernal Heights neighborhood of San Francisco, as a micropower 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.
SomaFM takes its name from Soma, the "perfect pleasure drug" from Aldous Huxley's 1932 novel Brave New World, and the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco, known colloquially as SoMa. SomaFM's twelve channels reached a peak listenership of 10,000 concurrent listeners by 2002, and now reports nearly 6 million "listener hours" every month.
List of channels
|Secret Agent||Lounge/jazz with a 1960s spy theme||2000|
|Indie Pop Rocks!||Indie pop/indie rock||2002|
|cliqhop idm||Intelligent dance music||2002|
|The Trip||Classic trance/progressive trance. Formerly known as Tag's Trip.||2004|
|Xmas in Frisco||Eclectic Christmas-themed music||2005[a]|
|Space Station Soma||Ambient space music||2006|
|Illinois Street Lounge||Lounge||2006|
|Sonic Universe||Avant-garde jazz||2008|
|Lush||Female-driven vocal downtempo||2008|
|Digitalis||Self-produced indie rock and electronic music||2008|
|Suburbs of Goa||Desi/Arabic-influenced worldbeat||2008|
|Underground 80s||Early 80s British synthpop and new wave. Formerly known as Nu Musik.||2008|
|Christmas Lounge||Christmas themed lounge music||2008[a]|
|Mission Control||Ambient music mixed with the sounds of NASA's mission broadcasts and live shuttle coverage||2009|
|Black Rock FM||The broadcast for 102.3FM in Black Rock City for the Burning Man Festival||2010[a]|
|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[a]|
|SF 10–33||Ambient music mixed with the sounds of San Francisco public safety radio traffic||2012|
|Dub Step Beyond||Dubstep, dub, and other bass-driven electronic music||2012|
|Folk Forward||Indie folk, alternate folk, and the occasional folk classics||2012|
|Christmas Rocks!||Christmas themed indie/alternative rock||2012[a]|
|Earwaves||Early electronic music/avant-garde music/computer music||2013|
|DEF CON Radio||Music from DEF CON's chill room, provided by SomaFM||2013|
|Iceland Airwaves||Music by artists from the Iceland Airwaves festival||2013[a]|
|Deep Space One||Deep ambient electronic, experimental, and space music||2013|
|Seven Inch Soul||Classic soul music||2014|
|Left Coast 70s||Mellow album-oriented rock from the 1970s||2015|
|Fluid||Instrumental hip hop/future soul/liquid trap||2015|
|ThistleRadio||Celtic music, was previously broadcast as The Thistle & Shamrock on NPR||2015|
|Metal Detector||Heavy metal||2015|
|Jolly Ol' Soul||Christmas-themed soul music||2015[a]|
|The Silent Channel||Ambient electronic music, sourced from the Silent Records ambient music label||2016|
Awards and credits
Elise Nordling, music director and curator of Indie Pop Rocks! and Folk Forward, was awarded the San Francisco Bay Guardian's "Best DJ of the Bay" award in 2005, 2007, and 2009. In 2007, they wrote that "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."
Conflict with SoundExchange
In May 2002, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel 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 channel 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.
In June 2002, SomaFM ceased broadcasting. Hodge was one of several webcasters who testified before the U.S. Congress in 2002 in the hopes of reducing the royalty rate. 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.
- Only available seasonally.
- Hodge, Rusty. "Donate to SomaFM! Support Commercial-Free Internet Radio". Retrieved 2013-08-08.
- "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 (PDF) 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.