The Internet and compressed audio formats such as MP3 are a match made in radio heaven. With these technologies, instead of laying out millions of dollars for an FCC license, radio transmitter, tower, building, and expensive DJs, you can “stream” your broadcasts over the Net to listeners all over the world, with little or no capital investment. Unlike brick-and-mortar radio stations, Internet radio stations are not limited by geography, and they do not require FCC licensing.
“Internet radio” is simply a buzzphrase for streaming audio with a bunch of interactive bells and whistles. But what bells and whistles! Many of these features match and even exceed those offered by the newer satellite and high definition (HD) digital radio technologies (see Chapter 6 for more information on these). For example, in addition to displaying the song title and artist name for each track, an Internet radio station can include features such as a buy button so listeners can purchase the currently playing song from an online music store, a forward button to skip songs, and a rating button so listeners can provide feedback on the song or station and potentially influence future programming.
Even if you have no aspirations to be a DJ and broadcast to the entire world, you can use the same steaming technology used for Internet radio for many other applications. For example, you can use streaming audio to:
Broadcast music throughout your home or office.