Sunday, September 19, 2004

Shoutcast radio; Streamripper

It's been awhile since I posted anything related to DJing or dance music. Mainly I've just been focused on teaching and writing, and the music has kind of dropped out a bit.

The one new discovery I made is the live audio streams from Shoutcast. The streams are free, and mostly run in Winamp. The nice thing about it is, it's pretty global (for instance:!). Also nice is the fact that all streams are marked according to number of slots available (so you know if the server will be too busy), as well as bitrate. Many stations provide live track info.

Bitrate is important because higher bitrates (about 128 kb -- 128 kilobits per second) sound closer to CD quality. Most Indian streams are in the 32-64 kb range, which is kind of so-so. It's much easier to find western pop dance music streams at higher bit rates.

I doubt that Shoutcast wants to make this public, but it's pretty easy to rip (capture) Shoutcast streams using a utility called Streamripper. Streamripper is a plugin for Winamp that lets you keep anything you're listening to through a Shoutcast stream. It's pretty easy to install; the only things to watch out for are: 1) download the right version of the program (more than a dozen versions are available), and 2) don't forget to set an output directory.

The coolest thing about the Streamripper utility is that it finds track information for you, and automatically saves separate MP3s for you. If you have the hard disk space, you can start ripping, walk away, and come back two hours later with dozens of new, properly labeled MP3s.

Disclaimer on Legality/Ethics. Even though it's probably perfectly legal to copy music this way, it's not really fully ethical to do it instead of buying music from musicians. I encourage people to frequent their local record stores...

In the Indian music category, I've been listening to:

Apna Radio
Punjabi Songs
Bombay Beats (128 kb; very busy)
Mast Radio (128 kb)
Desi Soundz (no track info.)

Of the four, I've been happiest with the selection on "Punjabi Songs," though only the 128 kb stations are probably seriously worth ripping. But do a search for "Hindi," and try the various stations...

In US/UK dance music, I've been happy with

Bassdrive (128kb; Drum n Bass)
Radio 42 (128 kb; Lounge/Nujazz)
Digitally Imported (96 kb -- wide selection of house, trance, techno, etc.)
Passion 91.8 FM (128 kb; UK Garage, from the UK)
Deep Mix Moscow Radio (128 kb; from Russia)

In Hip hop:

Smooth Beats (128 kb; Souls of Mischief!)

In Reggaeton (the super-trendy merger of Puerto Rican dancehall reggae and American rap): (listen for Tego Calderon -- he's the king of Reggaeton)

And in pop (even English profs. need a little pop in our lives):

Frequence 3 (128 kb; from Paris)

Anyone out there have other suggestions for free/legal things to listen to on the internet? Good MP3 blogs?


Kerim Friedman said...

Shoutcast is 100% compatible with Apple's iTunes, no matter what these sites say.

11:28 PM  
Anonymous said...

Look at rantradio. there are three stations from them, industrial, punk, and talk. There is also a tv version also.

5:35 PM  

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