Fugly @ BLogging – paper or plastic?

June 26, 2008

Antenna0 – Well Endowed Online Radio

Filed under: antenna0, projects, startups — MrBrandon @ 2:00 am

I’ve been working all hush-hush on Antenna0, an online radio service, for a few months. With Antenna0 someone can create an online radio station with their own music. Each station gets a snazzy community, integration with cafe press and affiliate programs for concert tickets, music, and artist related merchandise. Hot damn!

Antenna0 will monetize like Live365 and LoudCity by selling premium services to advanced hobbyists, but will also offer a free option. I’m committed to a free option, but I haven’t narrowed down the specifics yet, because it’s a pretty expensive service to provide for free. I don’t have much dough to work with.

Without question Pandora and Last.fm get more eyes and ears than hobby and independent broadcasters, but the small fries have been making people happy for years before the big guns arrived. They continue to exists, because people are very much interested in running their own radio stations. People continue to seek them out despite all available choices because these guys still offer unique and valuable content.

I think Antenna0 is the next logical progression for hobby broadcasters. It abstracts all the broadcast specific mumbo-jumbo, so it’s easier for someone to start broadcasting. The built in community turns what is normally a passive experience into an engaging, informative and entertaining one.

Antenna0 is a macro-community of stations, and each station is a micro-community. I think it would to see local music channels from all metropolitan areas on it. It would be a great way for people that like the local punk scene in Boston to find out what it’s like New York City or Chicago, or something like that.

I plan on providing users with tools to promote channels across blogs, personal websites and social networks but I’ll probably launch without it. A fair amount of independent artists get played on Internet radio too. So among other things, I’ll eventually need to allow contributed bios, urls and purchase information for music and merch.

Antenna0 is the result of a few prototypes I slapped together between moments, going back to October 2007. I messed around with subscription systems, song requesters, queuing solutions, affiliates, batch transcoding and all kinds of stuff. The more I experimented, the more I saw a bigger picture.

For the web side I settled on a RoR (Ruby on Rails)/Mysql stack and will drop it on the Ubuntu operating system. The streaming platform has Icecast at it’s heart, plus some customized scripts to manage the Icecast nodes.

June 24, 2008

Social Media Breakfast – Boston

Filed under: meetups, startups — MrBrandon @ 3:52 pm

I went to the Social Media Breakfast today. While the information was good, most of it was not of interest to me. The focus and presentations of this meeting was online marketing strategies. I should learn to care more since I’m all about online radio…but I’m heads down coding antenna0.com right now.

Overlay.tv stood out to me. They also sponsored the meetup and presented. Anyone that feeds me is my friend. Overlay.tv is like YouTube.com, but you can overlay the video with click-able contextual information. Like the pants someone in a video is wearing? Click on them and get linked off to the place that sells them. Commissions from affiliate links are split 50/50 between the video creator and Overlay.tv, nice!

I spoke to the CEO, Rob Lane, and told him I’ve heard this concept tossed around a lot in the past, so what made them take action and do it? The wife of another co-founder was watching Sex and the City (hate the show) and wondered where she could get those really fab pocket books.

Anyway, I think it’s a great idea but I wonder if there will be enough affiliate sales to make this ship float. Though I think most products will be fairly high dollar items (clothes, electronics, so on), so that’s good. Still these guys are not stupid, and they are aware of the average conversion rates and have crunched the numbers. They are aware it’s not easy. I’ve always thought additional information relevant to the content would increase conversion rates, and that’s their plan.

They are also getting approached by companies with specific needs, and they’ll naturally charge a fee for that. For example, some record labels want a little more hands on help getting artist related videos in there with custom features, and hopefully sell more product and some custom features. This is another good way for Overlay.tv to make money.

I wish these guys well.

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