How to Add Streaming Music to a Website
By Scott Shpak
From favorite songs to favorite stations, the sound of your website can be as distinctive as its look. You can augment your website with widgets to stream Internet radio, audio sharing services or, for the ambitious, your own audio streaming service. Multicast server technology permits a single music source to serve many website viewers.
The Multicast Advantage
If a streaming music provider attempted to build a fan base from a single computer, the number of listeners would depend on bandwidth. Each listener would take a portion of that bandwidth until the computer could no longer service any of the listeners. Multicast servers take a single stream from the music provider, duplicate the stream and supply each listener. When you add streaming music to your website, you are giving your visitor's computer directions to a multicast music source.
Adding Internet Radio
Internet radio stations can broadcast around the world with the help of website owners who add widgets connecting to the stations, so many commercial Internet radio companies such as Spotify and Live365 provide widgets to make it easy to add a stream. You can even find broadcast radio stations that share programming through streaming audio, and that also provide widgets to embed in your website code. National Public Radio offers a stream that mixes live and selected recorded programming, as well as a collection of widgets for both music and news.
Music Stores and Sharing Services
Other sources of streaming music include services that allow users to upload and share their own music, such as SoundCloud, which provides a number of ways to embed players into your website. In most cases, you can select the playlist that streams, a feature that some Internet radio stations don't offer. Internet music stores, such as iTunes, let you build custom widgets to explore and preview music available through the store.
Streaming Your Own Station
Making your own Internet music stream gives you the greatest control over content, of course. Service providers such as Radionomy and Live365 offer support to simplify the process, or you can start from scratch. Renting a multicast stream is affordable, starting under $10 a month at time of publication. You'll need a source client to feed the stream, found as standalone freeware or embedded in DJ software, and you will need to create your own code to embed the stream. When going the do-it-yourself route, remember that you must control the copyright for any music you play, or pay licensing fees for the right to broadcast.
A full-time content creation freelancer for over 12 years, Scott Shpak is a writer, photographer and musician, with a past career in business with Kodak.