One of the greatest, if not the greatest, inventions of our lifetime is the Internet. It is a way to bring together millions of people from across the world to connect and share information. The Internet offers the user social networking, file sharing, music, and a plethora of information about every subject you want to know about. Radio stations have had to re-adapt the way they operate since the invention and technology of the Internet. Traditional radio has had a long history and now Internet radio is the current story being written. The history of radio online dates back less than twenty years and is considered modern history.
Online radio stations were first broadcast in the early 1990s and did not take off right away. The stations, or websites, had to invent themselves and be presented to reach their target audience. Some radio stations were streaming broadcasts of music, talk shows, and some Internet radio is also considered to be a music library of songs found online. Unlike traditional radio, online radio can be accessed anywhere in the world, and in turn anyone in the world can listen to music from another city, state, country, or continent.
Originally, the Internet was a medium for communication, education, and government purposes. As the popularity of the World Wide Web grew, Congress approved the Internet to be used for commercial purposes. The first radio program to be broadcast online was in 1993, and it was a talk show about computers and the Internet. A year later, the music industry would start to utilize the medium. The Rolling Stones broadcast their concert live on the Internet. After that, radio stations followed their act and started to stream their shows online.
As the music hype started to spread via the Internet, music file sharing and downloading spread like wild fire. There were a lot of controversies from artists and listeners because the music industry took a hit from decreased record sales and royalties. It was not until 1998 that President Bill Clinton signed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act which included laws to protect musicians and copyrighted material. This means that Internet radio stations have to also pay royalties for music. This also meant that music found online was not free and had to be paid for.
By the late 90s, there were thousands, and still are, of Internet Radio programs. Radio stations online stream live talk show programs and music stations. There are sites that are genre specific, play a mix of different music, and other that play artists that are unsigned by record labels. Having Internet radio has changed the culture and way that people listen to and find music. Bands can gain popularity through the Internet. It is easier to be heard and get heard.