Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

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Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:56 am

Hello fellow Gerbils! I was reading articles on the types of streaming services currently offered and saw that many of them did not offer any higher quality streaming than 320kbps. While the majority offered less bitrate than 320, I saw some threads with people inquiring about a streaming service that offers FLAC or even lossless quality and wondered how what kind of challenges I would be facing in trying to start a true high quality streaming service. I know this would most likely be a niche market. My overall audio background is next to nothing, and I have no software programing skills. I am currently a junior at college with Major in International Studies and minor Economics so I would need a lot of outside help. My main concern is that even before I could the service up and running a larger well known company such as Spotify, could simply offer higher quality streaming or lossless. If any anyone has any input I am all ears! :wink:
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 12:11 pm

What you need is a talented IP lawyer with entertainment industry connections. There's no technical limitation, provided the end-user has sufficient bandwidth. If you've got friends who like to produce original music, you can get together with them right now and begin serving content. What will kill your business model, assuming you want to offer mainstream material, is the licensing rights.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:21 pm

ludi wrote:What you need is a talented IP lawyer with entertainment industry connections. There's no technical limitation, provided the end-user has sufficient bandwidth. If you've got friends who like to produce original music, you can get together with them right now and begin serving content. What will kill your business model, assuming you want to offer mainstream material, is the licensing rights.

Thanks, Ludi. I figured I would have more hassle on the legal spectrum than the technical side. As to address bandwidth concerns, many of us have no issues streaming much more bandwidth heavy data, such as Netflix or youtube. According to Netflix support HD movies take 2.8GB per hour, whereas the lowest quality setting uses .3GB per hour. A simple conversion calculator tells me this:
Spotify=2,40 MB/min @320Kbps
Netflix lowest setting=5,12 MB/min
Netflix HD= 2,87 GB/h
Lossless audio= 10.58MB/min (CD-DA used as format)
Even slower networks should have little issues handling the bandwidth.

The concern would come from the mobile side where most contracts have a data cap. If the service became popular enough, lower bit rates could be an option. Also not many mobile devices have the hardware to take full advantage of lossless audio, but the way I see it, is it would be better to have something in place for when mobile devices are up to the task, before having poor streaming on nice hardware.

As far as legal, would a simple stream of music be crossing borders? Not even any way that the user could change it. Just a direct stream? Time to find the legal department on campus.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Fri Apr 12, 2013 1:26 pm

ludi wrote:What you need is a talented IP lawyer with entertainment industry connections. There's no technical limitation, provided the end-user has sufficient bandwidth. If you've got friends who like to produce original music, you can get together with them right now and begin serving content. What will kill your business model, assuming you want to offer mainstream material, is the licensing rights.

And with better-than-MP3 quality, I predict you are going to get even more push-back on the licensing front than usual.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:35 pm

Well I talked to my student legal servicing adviser. She then talked to an entertainment lawyer and I explained that I was interested in having a lossy or FLAC radio streaming service over the net. I was trying to keep it as simple as possible. I was told that I would have to pay a radio fee, and monthly radio fees. Those fees I do not know yet as I have yet to talk directly to the entertainment lawyer. I would also not be able to rip my own lossy/FLAC songs but must stream from original source. Now this is a little difficult as CD quality downloads are not that easy to find. After finals I will make an appointment to discuss the matter further. For now it is at a stand still. Little disappointed I can not even stream over the net, say to my own device and that I must buy this high quality audio again, as to not duplicate it. Any thoughts gurus?
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:49 pm

Welcome to the totally messed up world of IP and copyright law.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Wed Apr 24, 2013 4:58 pm

GeForce6200 wrote:Any thoughts gurus?

If I meet any, I'll tell them to contact you :lol:

But yeah, that's about the answer I expected you to get. Although you don't yet have hard numbers on the fee structure, I expect you're not going to like those, either. You may find it easier to start hanging out at coffeehouses and other local venues to see if you can find any startup bands that have a sound you like, and then try to get on the ground floor with a distribution offer. In a college town you should have a decent pool of aspiring musicians and a decent pool of potential customers for indy/off-the-beaten-path types of material, and the cost structure should be easier to manage.

In short, the technical side of this is not your problem, the legal and promotional sides are what will keep you awake at night. If you're not a natural-born promoter and networker, you may need to partner with someone who is.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Wed Apr 24, 2013 5:24 pm

Personally, I think you'd have difficulty finding a market for this as I don't think many people would pay more than say, what rdio charges, for lossless streaming, but it doesn't matter what I think.

Larger digital music providers such as iTunes often have access to higher quality (than CD), studio-produced, digital masters which they then produce their compressed files from. Not sure if that would be an issue, but if your main selling point is fidelity, access to these might be something to look into. I would guess that unless you are a very large company with enough clout, you'd be stuck with CDs in most cases.

Don't most radio stations and services like rdio buy CDs or media libraries compiled by an intermediary (which are only available to companies like radio stations), or directly from the artist or artist representative (ie, studio)? As such, you'd basically need very expensive, highly parallel system with optical drives that can store and contain 100s of CDs and many hard drives that either converts to FlAC on the fly (with a bit of buffering) or else you'd rip the music to flac before hand, which would be way more work intensive.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Thu Apr 25, 2013 5:53 am

I love the entrepreneurial spirit. Keep that up. I don't see this particular pathgoing anywhere, but maybe you can stay in the same area with other business ideas and then when you have more knowledge of the entertainment industry and contacts then you can start something.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:17 am

One thing to ask... I know this will likely start a flame war so put on the asbestos suits.

What DRM are you planning? No studio out these would let master copies out of their hands for lossless streaming without a DRM.

Over all unless you have connections already (or go the indie route mentioned above) you are not likely to get far.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:33 am

Arvald wrote:What DRM are you planning? No studio out these would let master copies out of their hands for lossless streaming without a DRM.

Is the DRM part of HTML5 specific to video, or would it work on audio streams as well.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Wed Aug 07, 2013 2:17 pm

Sorry for the delay fellow gerbils, but I do have a few updates. I am currently studying abroad in Austria but am doing my best to try and research information. Since it would be purely streaming I am unsure of the DRM needed to be used. What I am most concerned about are users with the audio equipment that already listen to their music from the sources they trust and know. For simple testing of the idea though, I will make simple audio tracks to test the system. What I find myself asking the most is, will people actually need/use a service such as this.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Wed Aug 07, 2013 3:59 pm

I think 95% of people out there using streaming services aren't going to know or care that your service offers anything better than 192kbps quality, let alone have the equipment to tell the difference. (law of diminishing return) If you want to get anywhere, you're going to have to offer something unique that Spotify, Pandora, etc doesn't have. Not just better audio quality, that ship has sailed. That's my opinion.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Wed Aug 07, 2013 4:21 pm

You know... I've yet to see a service that lets you upload your own music to a server and play that same music through a /good/ streaming player. Food for thought.
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:48 am

Isn't that what the new Google Music service is supposed to do?
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Re: Possibility of Starting a Streaming Service?

Postposted on Sun Aug 25, 2013 6:46 pm

Well while abroad I discovered a service that aims to do what I was looking at. While it is not available in the states yet, I hope it will be soon. Qobuz offers flac streaming.
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