This one is for all you music buffs out there. Whether you are a Britney Spears fan or an Indian classical music loyalist, the World Wide Web is a veritable treasure trove of everything you could have ever imagined. But it comes with a fine print: Much of what you have on the Internet needs to be downloaded illegally, or it comes with a heavy price tag. There is a way out, though. It’s called radio. The concept is similar to the little box your grandma used when she was young. The only difference is that while conventional radio broadcasts to the air, Internet radio “streams” over the Web. Let’s take a look at how you can find and listen to your favourite music, without getting into trouble with the law or burning a hole in your pocket. Beware, most of these stations do air ads.
1. The easiest way to find a radio station is to simply search for it through an Internet browser. For example, if you search for “Indian classical radio” in Google, you get a variety of stations you can tune into. Choose any one of them from the list and it will open up the website of the station.
2.When you click “play” on the site, a new window with all the music controls opens up. Most sites have basic controls such as play, pause and volume.
3. In Windows Media player (or even most other players), radio has been integrated into the player itself. Again, for playing radio on your Windows Media player, you need to do a Web search for the station. Once you have selected your station, copy the URL or Web address of the station. This is usually displayed on top bar of the browser.
4. Open Windows Media player, and press Ctrl+U. This opens a prompt that asks you for the Web address of the radio station. Fill in the address and select “open”. The player responds by displaying the message “Opening Media” in the bottom left corner of the window. The radio then begins streaming to your speakers.
5. Like all files on the Internet, these radio streams also come in a variety of formats. Most of these formats are playable on either Windows Media Player or Real Player. You can download Real Player from the Internet.
6. Remember, neither Windows Media Player nor Real Player can play all the possible stream formats. To make sure, check the format of the stream before you try to listen to it. For example, BBC Radio streams on “.rm” format—these files cannot be played on the media player. To play these files, simply search for “what player supports .rm files” on the Internet. This will throw up options of players that can play this format and can be downloaded for free.
7. You can also use streaming to listen to music stored on your computer, without carrying the device with you. One of the best ways to do this is download software called Orb (log on to ‘www.orb.com’). This software picks ups all the music on your computer and streams it online.
8. Once you have downloaded Orb, you need to create an account with it. During this process, Orb also checks to see if your computer is powerful enough to stream music, and automatically finds your stored music and makes it available online.
9. Whenever you want to hear your music, simply type ‘mycast.orb.com’ in your browser and log in to your account. This opens the site to a new page. On the left corner of the window, click on “Open Application”. On the new menu, click on “udio”—and your entire music library will become accessible to you.
10. Unfortunately, Orb uses the files on your computer directly; it doesn’t copy them on to any other site or location. So, to make use of this, you must keep your home computer on and connected to the Internet at all times.
Also Read previous Toolkit columns