Free service lets you be a DJ

You have 100 megabytes of server space to fill, 100 data streams, and a burning desire to compete with the local radio talent. Is this a dream come true? The creators of Live365.com hope so.

Live365.com, the newest offering from Nanocosm, gives music lovers and disc jockeys a forum to broadcast their favourite tunes, promote their own works, listen to a variety of selections, and receive feedback from listeners, all for free.

The premise of Live365.com is straightforward -- give music lovers a broad selection of categorised music and provide an Internet broadcasting forum free of charge. Listeners can choose from two MP3 players, Nullsoft's WinAmp and Sonique 1.0; both are easily downloaded from the site. For those who wish to broadcast, Live365.com offers 100MB of server space and 100 data streams on which to "air" their music. Directions and a tutorial are easily accessed from the site's home page.

"What we present to the Web broadcaster is a package that has never before been offered at this level," says Alex Sanford, CEO for Live365.com. "The vast amount of server space and listener capabilities we provide will allow broadcasters to reach much larger audiences."

Bandwidth has been a problem for would-be DJs in the past, says Andrew Volk, director of Community at Live365.com. He says the free server space and data streams will surpass the limits inherent with many netcasting sites on the Internet.

I found Live365.com easy to use, with a growing selection of music. This is a site for the die-hard music fan, with message boards and ample room for artistic praise or critical analysis. It also includes a hefty helping of alternative music. Depending on your taste, that's either good or bad.

One difficulty exists for the average modem user. Many of the selections are broadcast at a high rate of speed, creating breaks in music received by slower modems. Fortunately all of the selections note the transmittal rate, so you can choose those slower than your modem's receiving speed.

Live365.com plans to provide Internet broadcasters with video and 3D art streams in the near future, a move chief technology officer Peter Rothman believes will increase the site's visibility. "The core concept goes well beyond music. The idea is to give everyone a broadcast channel."

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