The Trials and Tribulations of BitCandy Radio


Behold! The sixth version of BitCandy Internet Radio is finally here, and I dare say it's awesome.  Check it out here!  Grab a coffee and let me tell you about the trials and tribulations of making our radio station, my passion for the last 3 years, and how I haven't had a solid date consequently as all my juicy love instead went into this thing.  You'll also learn how and what it takes to make your own REALLY AWESOME Indie Interent Radio station.  And I dare say you may be entertained.  

internet radio

Yes, way back in 2005 I had this silly idea that radio SUCKED BALLS. Crazy, right? I think I had heard one too many Jessica Simpson songs. And maybe it was around that time that Indie 103.1 in Los Angeles (my elixir of life at the time...and the greatest radio station ever) went off the air. And you know what? I was like...f*ck all of this! I wanted to drive my car off a cliff listening to the horrible music on even "alternative" radio that was being fed to me. EW...GROSS.

ew gross

So I set out to find ... Where's the new indie radio station I could tune into and be delighted? No. Not delighted. Freaking out about. Like ... I want something like "Coachella radio"...mashing up genres of indie, some great electro...and hey also great alternative pop or great alternative hip hip music.

And I totally came up blank in my search. Pandora was inhuman (and stupid...hey, you know I just MIGHT really LOVE to hear a Lumineers song after NIN followed by Missy Elliot, thank you very much). And KCRW was for me too esoteric and snobby. And I also knew, it had to be programmed by a HUMAN...because when it comes to music selection...algorithms are for suckers. Music picked by computer? PAH-LEASE! 

50 feet of crap

Oh Snap...what if...Yes! I KNOW...I can do better than this!

Well. Apparently not. Because the BitCandy Internet Radio Channel and all of my previous BitCandy players just didn't take off.  No one cared. Sniff sniff. (C'mon...How can my 1TB library of .AIFF files of MUSC AWESOME be denied?!).

no one cared

But I've been persistent. And while we've been continually providing the services of a "music filter" on our home page at ... well, you see, I've been in the lab. Yes, something like a Batman lair but much less cool. And thus ... I think i might have a HOME RUN with the latest BitCandy Internet Radio that's giving so far the same "time on site" metrics as Pandora. As a BitCandy visitor you can check it out here FREE.

Now...oh you might say, it must be kinda easy to make an internet radio station. Ahhh...but there's the blood, sweat and tears.

face palm

I created my own platform from scratch...pretty much because everything else "off the shelf" sucked ass big time!

You see, there ARE some products you can get like or TritonMedia etc...where you can start broadcasting and creating your internet radio station immediately. But the design and function is befitting only for my grandmother in Rapid Cities, Iowa. That's why I built my shizola from scratch. And let me tell you ... I would almost give my right hand (which means quite a bit right now if you know what I'm saying) than to have to go through all that research and development again.

right hand

If you're not completely glazed and bored at this point, here's how Internet Radio streaming works.

First you need all the files. I have a total of over 1 TB of files I've collected over my super nerd muso lifespan. But I've whittled this down to only about 3,000 MUST HAVE files on line. You see, the point here is that we ARE THE OPPOSITE of Spotify! I don't need 24 Million songs at my fingertips! I just want THE BEST!  And all these songs are streaming in minimum 256 kbps! (Hey that's near CD quality for noobs not versed in the fine arts of kilobits per second and audio quality.)

Second, you need a dedicated host to serve all the files.

Third, you need to code some kind of playlist algorithm to call the files from this dedicated server box and to also simultaneously display the artwork, and also in our case the YouTube, Facebook, iTunes, Spotify and YouTube information and links for each song. Sound complicated yet? Oh...just you wait fancy pants! I'm just getting started.

freaking genius

Fourth, you need to also have the proper LICENSING and reporting with ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, SoundExchange to be a legal service. That's another mine field. But whatever...check. (Yes, shock and awe...BitCandy PAYS ARTISTS for the privilege of streaming their music!!)

Fifth, you need to let people rate the songs so they can power the BitCandy charts. Yes, the more you rate songs on BitCandy Internet Radio, the more you help us power and make up the BitCandy charts! YES...YOU Control OUR Charts!

(Now HOLY SHIT...knowing this, I should have just given up years ago. But no...great music is too important to me).

sometimes I question my sanity

Sixth, it needs to be FREE. WTF. Yeah...note to self. You aren't going to make ANY money on this for years to come (or ever). OK ... I am friggin insane to do this.

Seventh, you need to sacrifice all your personal time and life as you know it to create BitCandy and an Internet Radio station that someone on the same page as you (fingers crossed these people are out there) will listen to hours on end.

fingers crossed

Eight, you have to build a gazillion playlists. Not just the obvious playlists, but playlists that delight and make you mental. In fact...true story...and if anyone knows this person...let me know...I remember being in of all places Catalina Island one weekend.  The last place I'd expect to hear great indie. I don't know who the radio programmer was on that Island Radio but i was going out of my was SOOOOOOOOO good. And that's the way it used to be. We used to "TRUST" our DJs. We used to have (at least in the 70s) multiple genres on the same station. Just GREATNESS! That's the only GENRE needed! That's what I want to return to. That's what I want to give to you.

Anyway, I want you to know that I care about you. And I care about music HUGELY. And since no one was delivering the radio I wanted...I decided to make it myself.

It's alive!

So take a flying leap: Clear Channel, Cummulus Media, Westwood One and any other radio conglomerate that are 100% dumbing down our sensibilities of music can take a jump off the nearest cliff (oh wait...Westwood One already did that ($350 a share to now .42 cents).

Eight years ago I couldn't sit still knowing there wasn't "the" indie internet radio I wanted to tune into. So instead...I did it myself. It's here now. Come and be a part of it with me.

Come and be a part of it with me

Check it out. I made this for you.

(p.s. Seriously, let me know what you think. Drop a note on Facebook or @bitcandy -- I'll comment back!)

BitCandy - The Definitive Music Filter