The results of a survey conducted by Edison Research, leaders in media studies, hint at a paradigm shift in radio-listening patterns among American listeners. In the October 2009 survey, the weekly listener count for online radio stations surged up to 42 million. This is almost double the count in 2005. The research company credited this shift to the emergence of SHOUTcast hosting technology.
SHOUTcast hosting technology enables hobbyists and professionals to set up and run internet broadcasting stations. With this technology, an individual can relay live streaming audio from his computer through the internet. Worldwide listeners connected to the internet can hear these live streaming audio signals. This technology is a cheap alternate to AM, FM or community radio stations. The popularity of online audio broadcast among individuals earned it the name, SHOUTcast Radio.
Broadcasting audio and music over the internet requires considerable storage capacity and high bandwidth. Thus, it is inevitable to connect the computer to a dedicated server. These servers are called as SHOUTcast hosting servers. They run on server software platform developed by Nullsoft, makers of Winamp media player. The SHOUTcast server software provides a high quality interface to store, select and broadcast audio and music files.
SHOUTcast hosting is based on client-server architecture. The broadcaster’s computer acts as the client, while a remote computer is the server. The input for SHOUTcast relay is MPEG Layer 3, also called as MP3 technology, and AAC+. Listeners can use any MP3 supporting media player, such as Winamp, iTunes, Real player, VLC player or XMMS, to listen to the live streaming.
To broadcast through SHOUTcast server, an individual has to install compatible players in the system and SHOUTcast DSP plug-in. The plug-in allows connection to the server using a dedicated IP address. Now, the user can create audio file directory by uploading songs on the server. While broadcasting, the client computer can make selection from the directory which is relayed through the server IP address.
Through multiple sourcing, client computer can broadcast on-demand streaming music for different listeners. However, this requires high bandwidth connection at the server end.
24shells, leaders in hosting industry, offers high quality SHOUTcast servers. The company offers various advantages such as zero set up charges, free auto DJ and unlimited bandwidth. The service quality is guaranteed with 50% refund if the server is down for more than 30 minutes in a given month.