There's been a lot said around the world about the effect that the internet has had on the music industry and the experience of listeners. While there is no doubt that Peer-to-Peer networks like Napster and Kazaa has had an impact on the way consumers access and appreciate their music - internet radio has had very little attention, that is, up until now.
When it comes to enjoying music on your computer, Winamp, now owned by AOL has been the tool of choice for a long time now. Riding on the mp3 revolution, Winamp was one of the first, and by far the most popular media players in the world.
The recent release of Winamp 5 has provided a whole new listening experience; rather than just choosing from your playlist of files stored on your hard-drive or network, you can now access a MASSIVE list of radio stations which stream music out to the internet all day and night.
What's the big deal, you might ask?
Well, firstly, downloading music to listen to it tends to be a frustrating experience. Kazaa and other networks rely on the goodness of peers to make music available and allow you to download it from their hard drives. Considering all of the legal action so far has been against these "generous" people, its easy to understand why they are less than enthusiastic about allowing others to download music from them. This makes for a very unreliable download process.
Secondly, as any of us will know from our own legitimate CD collections, there's only so many times you can listen to an album go around without getting a little irritated. While an ever expanding collection of music can mitigate this frustration, it requires money or effort or both to expand your music collection by buying more CDs or downloading tracks online.
Internet radio solves both of these problems. It's entirely legal to log on and listen to just like it's legal to listen to radio in your car or house. Additionally, radio station owners attract and retain listeners by mixing things up and making sure they're getting a good experience from the service.
Additionally, Internet Radio is often broadcast in CD quality, and if you've got a broadband internet connection, you can listen in perfect quality to broadcasts from the other side of the world. Finally, with the amount of selections available, you can choose your style, and also whether or not your station will be advertising free or advertising supported.
To try it out, check out http://www.winamp.com/player/ to download the program that lets you access all of this; you only need the free version to access radio, but can upgrade to Pro if you really want to.