“Tune in to Mike” — Please, How Can I Share My Music?

Music is the soundtrack to our lives. Our livelihood, experiences, and fun can often be traced back to songs, lyrics, and melodies. If you’re like me then music is an integral part of the daily routine.

I wake up, to an alarm clock playing some obnoxious song that gets me out of bed. I fire up Pandora and hop in the shower. Upon entering the car, I’m turning off Pandora and turning up the volume on my favorite XM channel. At this point I’ve listened to an hour of music and it’s time for some coffee. I claim a table with a ratty book I keep (for exactly this purpose) and get in line to ask the barista for something strong and delicious. If there is no coffeehouse music playing then this is one of the only parts of my day not accompanied by music. Medium, black, no room for creamer; I sit down and put on my headphones and blast my YouTube playlist.

Music is an “in the moment” experience. I want to share that. What if you knew I was on my way to an event and could tune-in to whatever I was listening to at that exact point in time? Rock, Reggae, Indie, Pop, whatever I’m playing is a direct reflection of what I feel, or more importantly, how I want to feel. This is subtle, epic, and intense all at the same time.

For example, Right now I’m listening to Dream by Iration. It’s a tranquil, and sitting at a virtually empty Starbucks seems quite fitting. I just wrapped up writing some software. My cell phone sits patiently waiting to distract me :)

This brings me to a topic I’ve been thinking about lately… Sharing music. Scratch that. Sharing the experience of music.

There was a time when Shoutcast servers were super popular for more hardcore Internet users. A Shoutcast server was basically a broadcasting tool that would relay to subscribers whatever you were listening to. A DJ could stream whatever they were listening to out into the world. Followers, or subscribers, were gained in many ways often through Internet Relay Chat rooms, Forums, and other social network/online communities. Followers had their favorite DJs. The DJs played whatever they wanted, when they wanted, and things were very traditional: you’d tune in if you liked what you heard or tune out if you did not. But for the DJ things were really simple. Once you had that Shoutcast server set-up, you’d just launch your WinAmp music player and play a set of songs. There was not a lot of thinking involved. People tuned in and out at their will. Pretty much just like Radio… A DJ could even broadcast an ad if they felt slimy enough :)

Aside from legal ramifications, what happened to the era of Internet DJs? The Shoutcast server never really made it mainstream. Last.fm, Pandora, YouTube, TurnTable.fm, etc are all great examples of neat Internet music sharing applications but none of them let you create your own real-time broadcast. I can’t seem to find a popular that allows us create our own radio station easily. I want DJs to come back. I want to be a DJ myself. I think I have some legit music I’d like to share with people and making playlists is just not the right approach; the vibe is just all wrong.

Sharing should be easy, passive, and accessible… It’s on us, as innovators, to make a service that emulates the awesomeness of Shoutcast and removes all of the pain. Maybe Shoutcast needs a wrapper to make it easier to use and a complimenting web site that lists current DJs. Even as I type this I think there must be a service that does this but why have I not heard of it? I’m arguably way more active in the online music scene than most. Someone has failed here.

So basically I’ll end my short post with a question/challenge: Will someone create a service to do this and then throw me an account. Something like tunein.to/mike would be EPIC.