Thursday, 19 March 2015

Definition: Stream URL access

When distributing their streams to the online community, radio stations adopt a variety of strategies:

  • Most net-only stations, and many broadcast stations, approach the task directly: the station website provides livestream URLs in ordinary text (as we do at NRB), or as downloadable playlist (.pls) files that add the URLs automatically to popular platforms when clicked.
    NRB stream URL access rating: Excellent
  • Others are listed on third-party aggregators such as Shoutcast or Icecast, which provide the aforementioned .pls files.
    NRB stream URL access rating: Good
  • Still others enter a contractual relationship with a middle-man streaming service that attempts to enforce exclusive access from its proprietary website. Stream URLs can usually be mined from the HTML of these sites, but this requires a modicum of expertise, and often a significant investment of time. Stream-extracting software may also produce results, but again, requires some knowledge of computers, and often an investment of money.
    NRB stream URL access rating: Fair
  • Finally, some stations (virtually all of them traditional broadcasters unfamiliar with the livestream market) go out of their way to force online listeners to visit their homepage by burying their stream URL in a proprietary, unhackable on-site player. Even extraction software may not produce a URL for these stations. To stream them on net radio platforms, listeners rely on tips from fellow IRLs, via peer-edited sites such as NRB and Yourmuze.
    NRB stream URL access rating: Poor

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