I'm looking to start an internet radio station.
I already have the DJs selected and some of those DJs are already on FM band station they are very good friends of mine therefore i could expect a fair few listeners i mean it wouldn't go upto a 100 at any time soon and i'd want to be at about 128kbps but i was hoping on getting a lot of time slots filled so hopefully we are 24 hours or at least 8am-1am.
Would a shoutcast hosting package be the best way to go or would it be better to get a dedicated server/VPS and do it that way?
When you talk about listeners ( like 100 ) you mean at the same time listening, right?
A shoutcast hosting package could be the best option if you can't or you don't want to do some server administration. Best option would be a vps with a 10Mbps line or better 100Mbps shared ( but not that shared ).
VPS costs: VPS + shoutcast mp3 license ( one time fee ) + ( optional: license for a control panel like centova cast if you'd like later to add an easy way and/or automated way to handle playlists etc.)
Shoutcast hosting package costs: just the hosting package.
If you go with a shoutcast hosting package don't let yourself pay an extremely expensive package for this. You can do your job with plans under 20$/month. I know there are out there hosts that claim stability and quality and request big money for just 50 or 100 slots. Well, you can get what you want and the same quality much much cheaper. Test some providers and go with an under 20$/month plan. Don't pay more.
Most of the time, people will go with a Dedicated Server for ShoutCast. This is because at least when you get more listeners and etc, you will be able to control it yourself. Instead of having limited resources and all.
Now-a-days servers are getting cheaper and cheaper so getting a shoutcast package is not entirely worth your while.
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I would definitely suggest you look at dedicated servers... for one the bandwidth is gonna be eaten, plus alot of shared resellers with their own VPS etc.. wouldnt really like you streaming from their box I am guessing. At least with ded server you have good control!
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I would suggest going with either a host that offers Shoutcast packages or getting a VPS. I've been using a VPS for years and have had relatively good success. One thing you must be very aware of is network quality. To stream successfully, you'll need a rock solid connection with virtually no packet loss. Note that this probably won't come cheap no matter what route you take. I've chosen the budget route since this is just a hobby for me. I don't mind a few minutes of downtime each month.
As for the amount of listeners, don't expect too many at first. If you build it (and advertise it and list it in directories such as iTunes) they will come. I started out with an average of 5 listeners and now I have an average of 40 with peaks of 120. Speaking of listeners...here is a great tool to figure out how much bandwidth you will need: http://www.orbitalgrooves.com/bandwidthcalculator.php
One other detail you may not have thought about is licensing. I would recommend LoudCity, but they're currently at capacity. So perhaps LoudCaster (an alternative all in one package that takes care of all your streaming, licensing, and DJ needs...although I think they only do AAC encoding) would be a good solution.
Originally Posted by MBGear
shoutcast mp3 license ( one time fee )
You must be thinking of sc_trans. Last time I checked, sc_serv does not require a license.
sc_trans would probably be a good addition to the OP's setup if he chooses to use a VPS since it would allow easy management of the DJs and relatively seamless transitions. The beta version is still a bit buggy though and will crash and burn every time you have network issues... Other than that, it works great.
sc_serv (aka Shoutcast DNAS) is what allows listeners to tune in to your stream. It can be used standalone or in combination with another utility such as sc_trans, liquidsoap, or ices.
sc_trans can do many things. It is best described as a useful companion to sc_serv that has the features you will want if you are going to be working with DJs. It is most useful for when you have multiple DJs or need a backup source to take over automatically when your main source disconnects or dies (or for whenever no DJs are connected). You can set it to do playlists, for example, and do scheduling for DJs. It is also useful for transcoding one source into different bitrates and sending that off to different instances of sc_serv. You do have to pay for the MP3 encoding license, but it's only $5. You can play around with it using just the AAC coding for free.
Here's an example usage scenario for the combination of sc_serv and sc_trans. I'm running a copy of Sam Broadcaster on a desktop here at the house. I have limited upload bandwidth, so I can only send out one bitrate. I choose to send a 192kb/s stream since that is what I broadcast at. I have some mobile listeners that appreciate a lower bitrate, so I set sc_trans to transcode to 192k mp3, 96k mp3, and 64k aac+. The transcoded streams are sent to my three shoutcast servers. The Sam Broadcaster desktop is acting like a DJ. It stays connected 24/7. If it ever disconnects (for instance, if the power goes out), sc_trans will fade to whatever other programming is available (I have uploaded a copy of all of my music to the server so it randomly chooses what to play). When the desktop comes back up and reconnects, sc_trans fades back to it. The behavior is similar for when a DJ is scheduled to connect. You can assign priority to another DJ. DJ Bob would have a higher priority than the Sam desktop, so sc_trans would fade to DJ Bob. Whenever DJ Bob disconnects, sc_trans will fade back to the Sam desktop. At least this is how it will supposedly work after the next beta drop. Currently, it goes from the DJ to the auto dj to the next DJ, so you do get a bit of random music during transitions. So basically, what sc_trans does is ensure that sc_serv always has a source so listeners can always be tuned in.
As for licensing, you will need to do a bit of research on what the requirements are for your specific country. If it's the US, you are quite limited in choice, and those choices range from moderately expensive to outrageously expensive. Of course, you can skip the whole licensing thing if you can get permission for royalty free plays from every song you play (this will be difficult).
I hope all of this makes sense. I do tend to get a bit unintelligible when I'm tired.