Radiopaq – Streaming Radio Portal

I saw on Brand Republic that Beam have been hired to ‘excite’ people about new radio streaming startup Radiopaq. I hadn’t heard of Radiopaq so I thought i’d stop by. It’s not a particularly new idea, but the site’s quite nicely done and AJAX-style allows you to navigate through the content without interrupting your listening.

However, they are basically making money form nicking other people’s content [edit – potentially, as they haven’t got any ads at the moment], and actually worse than that, their inhibiting the way these stations make money online, whilst stealing their content.

Radio streaming economics means that for each additional listener you add, you have to spend more money on bandwidth/infrastructure to serve them. That’s why the online radio players are so important as the banners and pre-roll adverts help the station cover these costs. The players also provide more information about the programmes and the music that’s being played, which is a nice listener benefit.

Radiopaq chooses to ignore these pop-up players and link directly to the streams. Looking at some of the GCap stations on their site (Capital for example) it also links to the pure streams rather than the links that will play a pre-roll advert. It also looks like they’ve nicked the station logos off the websites (though according to their terms and conditions these have all been licensed to them. hmmm).

Now ‘broadband portals’ can be a good way of letting people sample these radio stations and potentially bring them more listeners. However, the difference between this and say something like iTunes, is that organisations choose to put their content into iTunes, they don’t for something like Radiopaq.

Perhaps i’m being naive and Radiopaq has negotiated with all of the radio groups access to pure ad-free streams in exchange for a cut of the site’s revenue. If anyone can confirm that please, of course, leave a comment and i’ll edit this post accordingly.

[Edit: Lots of interesting comments from the RadioPaq team below]

7 thoughts on “Radiopaq – Streaming Radio Portal”

  1. GlobCap could just switch stream format. Apart from getting its character sets wrong (from where I sit, every apostrophe is a bad character image) and being un-bookmark-able through the expert use of completely pointless Javascript links everywhere, in ten pages I didn’t see a single non-WMA stream.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to look at Radiopaq. We’re always keen to hear what listeners think of the site, and your feedback is much appreciated.

    To address some of your points, Radiopaq is still in beta form and is evolving all the time. The site is not commercial at the moment, and will only be so when the next generation of the system (which is being built as we speak) provides commercial stations with the kind of representation they are happy with.

    To reassure you, the Radiopaq team shares your concerns about how best to serve the interests of commercial radio, and as such, we are in talks with RadioCentre – they are supportive of our project, and are helping us put together a plan which will help us to promote their stations. Also, organisations including Sky and the Guardian Online have given us approval for use of their content – our weather information is licensed directly from the met office, and our traffic information from ITIS.

    Our goal is to encourage new listeners to enjoy radio and allow existing radio lovers to find different and exciting stations and shows, and soon we’ll have an ideal platform with which to do this.

    Thanks again for your feedback – and we’ll be sure to keep you posted about developments to the site.

  3. Thanks for responding to the post.

    1. Whethere it’s Beta or not – i’m not sure that that matters. If I ran a service that stripped all of ITV’s programme of ads, i’m sure they wouldn’t make the distinction.

    Talking to the RadioCenter is good – not that their radio player is particularly liked by some of the groups (though as they’re the industry body it’s somewhat ignored).

    Personally I don’t think repurposed RSS feeds is that connected to your core product. I think if people use you for anything, it’ll be radio and not news, travel and weather.

    Aside from the legal aspect (I don’t think the stations/radiopaq have the right music licences to allow this to happen) I don’t have a problem with organisations creating tools that let listeners access radio services in new ways – in fact i’m very supportive of it. What I am keen on these services doing is not stealing the content and bandwidth.

    Have a look at MediaUK’s player – it opens the right pop-up player – a great way to start.

  4. How can this be “stealing the content and bandwidth”? The commercial radio streams still carry the same adverts, and the amount of money spent on bandwidth is massively lower than the tens of millions spent on transmitting DAB, and multicast is going to start being used later this year (see my website for details), which effectively makes distributing radio stations over the Internet free in terms of bandwidth.

  5. 1. Audio streams don’t neccessarily carry the same adverts as analogue.
    2. They often have pre-roll ads, or in the case of Virgin, video ads – most of which Radiopaq dont include
    3. Indeed, quite a lot of the money generated online (which flows back into programmes and distribution) is made through ads on pop-up players.
    4. And while it’s a different kind of cost to other broadcast platforms, it is still a cost. Even with multi-casting, which brodcasters do use now, it still doesn’t cover a decent chunk of a station’s listeners. This means you’re paying for each additional listener that you have. It also means that you have to agree peering arrangements with ISPs, which can be easy, but if they take a different view, they might want a different approach to payment. There’s quite a good write-up here:

  6. Just to confirm how the site works, each user is connected directly to the radio station’s stream in exactly the same way as they would be if they had visited the station’s website – so to reassure you, Radiopaq does not ‘steal’ their bandwidth in any way. However, if a station has any concerns about this at all, we will be happy to stream their content via our own Radiopaq server.

    Our discussions with Radio Centre have revolved around our strategy to provide radio stations with additional visibility for themselves and their sponsors – we are developing ways for stations to receive branding space. While we’ve received dozens of requests from stations requesting to be included on the site, we haven’t yet had any requests to be removed – but of course, any station that would prefer not to be represented by Radiopaq needs only to let us know, and we’ll remove the direct play link immediately.

    We appreciate your points Matt, but we are genuinely interested in supporting the radio industry. We have a broader strategy in place which will be revealed shortly and we would welcome the opportunity to chat to you (in your capacity as a journalist) about this if you’d like, so please email me if you are interested in setting up a call with the Radiopaq team.

  7. Interesting comments about RADIOPAQ and their service.

    What I like about their website is tht it gives the listener to ability to surf the worlds’ onine radio waves witout any promotional jingo that tries to steer you to one or another sttion.

    I prticularly like the way one can surf by country and type of stations. It would be good to be albe to search by language as well since many stations are transimtted in different languages which do not necessarily relate to their country of origin.

    The added value for this portal is that it gives the listener a new way to choose content. It is refreshing not to be on the receiving end of marketing efforts when deciding which radio stations to log in to.


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