Everyone has used the radio at one point in their lives. The moment you sit in a car, you’re reaching for the radio dials and finding your favorite station. But for some of us who work jobs very far away from our home towns (like myself for some time) or even radio aficionados, that station is just not available on the local dial. That station has to be found through the Internet.
Internet radio began in the early 1990s in Washington, before many people were even using the Internet. It started with a few bands in Washington, but then people took notice when the Rolling Stones had broadcasted their concert over the Internet. Eventually, traditional radio stations began appearing on the internet as streaming feeds as well. As popularity in computers and the Internet began to boom, more people began tuning in. Windows Media Player and Winamp became free downloads at this time, greatly increasing listener base of internet radio stations.
Then, things looked dark for the future of Internet radio. The passing of the Digital Millenium Copyright Act in 1998 made it a little more expensive for legitimate Internet radio stations: they would have to pay more royalties than traditional stations to play the same music. There was an enormous backlash as a result. Even large radio stations would fail financially with the business model proposed by the DMCA. A grassroots effort emerged to help save Internet radio from its own collapse.
Eventually, this financial issue was worked out, and today, there are thousands of Internet radio stations available. Traditional air stations are using the Internet to broadcast to fans far away from their signals, and some people are even constructing fanbases of their own by just running the station out of their homes. If you ever wanted to hear a great radio station, they can be found on the Internet.