|Jon Stephenson (CEO)
LIVE365 is an Internet radio network which enables users to create their own online radio stations and listen to thousands of human curated stations. Online radio stations on the Live365 network were created and managed by music and talk enthusiasts, including both hobbyists and professional broadcasters. Live365 also has many well established AM and FM stations that use Live365 broadcasting platform to simulcast their terrestrial radio streams. The Live365 network also features radio stations from artists such as Johnny Cash, David Byrne, Pat Metheny, Jethro Tull, and Frank Zappa. Live365 was created in 1999, and remains one of the longest running internet radio websites for listeners and broadcasters.
This internet radio provides service in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with licenses from those countries' performance rights societies.
Nanocosm Inc. (the parent company of Live365) was a technology startup founded by two roommates from the Princeton class of 1981, Alex Sanford and Steve Follmer, whose initial product was NanoHome, a 3D "Virtual Home" website featuring 3D homepages on the World Wide Web.
Live365 had its beginnings in a hosted community radio project developed by Nanocosm employee Andy Volk in his free time using Shoutcast technology, and later modified by employee Brian Lomeland. In 1998, Andy Volk shared the idea with Nanocosm CTO Peter Rothman, and they developed the concept for a new large-scale hosted community radio service dubbed Live365. After launch in July 1999, Live365 quickly eclipsed NanoHome, and the company soon shifted to solely focus on Live365 and online audio streaming services.
At launch, broadcasting and listening on Live365 was free of charge. Stations had a maximum listener cap of 365 simultaneous listeners and 365 megabytes of storage for music and audio. In September 2001, Live365 began charging for use of its broadcasting services to remain financially viable in the wake of rising music royalty costs. More expensive plans allowed stations to have more simultaneous listeners and a greater amount of music file storage space. Members who joined before September 2001 could continue broadcasting with their original package for free. This model would later be replaced with one in which all members pay, but those who joined before September 2001 received a discount. In March 2003, Live365 launched their commercial-free membership called VIP.
The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 expired in January 2016, ending a 10-year period in which smaller online radio stations, Live365 among them, paid lower music licensing fees compared to larger broadcasters. After this time, smaller radio stations were required to pay the same fees as the largest broadcasters. Also, on January 31, 2016, webcasters, who are governed by rules adopted by the Copyright Royalty Board, were required to begin paying SoundExchange an annual, nonrefundable minimum fee of $500 for each channel and station, the fee for services with greater than 100 stations or channels being $50,000 annual.
With the pending expiration of the lower royalty rate allowed for small broadcasters, investors removed their support of the company. In late December 2015, Live365 laid off most of its employees and vacated its office, and the few remaining employees were remote workers. On January 31, 2016, Live365 ceased webcasting and its website redirected listeners and users to a list of competing services. A year after its closure, Live365 relaunched its site and streaming services.
In July 2016, Live365 was acquired by Jon Stephenson, owner of content delivery network EmpireStreaming (now SoundStack). The following month, the website returned with signs of a possible relaunch. An article was posted to the site's official Twitter on May 23, 2017 announcing the relaunch.
On January 6, 2018, Live365 was reorganized under Media Creek Inc., a Delaware-based holding company.
Live365 offers a variety of music and talk from numerous countries and genres. Users may listen to thousands of stations on the Live365 radio network for free, with in-stream audio ads covering a portion of the music royalty and streaming costs. Live365 also offers personalized recommendations. Live365 is available for listening on the web and across many mobile and home streaming devices.
Live365 offers a paid listener subscription service called VIP, which features commercial-free listening.
Live365 is a digital broadcasting platform that was initially operational from 1999 to January 31, 2016, before being revived in 2018. The platform provides the functionality for users to either host live broadcasts or upload and create playlists of music and talk content for streaming purposes. Live365 pays music royalties to labels, artists, songwriters, and publishers through organizations including ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, and SoundExchange.
In October 2011, Live365 implemented the Pro Points rewards program. This enabled Pro broadcasters to incorporate Live365 audio advertisements into their content, with financial rewards granted upon reaching specified ad milestones.
In 2013, Live365 further expanded its service offerings with the release of the Studio365 for Mobile application. This software tool allows Live365 broadcasters to manage their radio station remotely using mobile devices.