Monday, April 19, 2010

INTERVIEW: Hamin Mousavi of Radiour talks Crowdsourcing Radio

Radiour came across my inbox a couple weeks ago where I quickly learned that it is based on the collaboration model which I've blogged about before (check out my interview's with Nekkid Radio and Error.FM). Always a fan of the crowd sourced model, my curiosity remains piqued.

Its name is a play on "Our Radio" and if you tune in, you will hear everything from techno to old men yodeling. In the short time I've been listening, I've heard everything from hard dance techno, to death metal, to folk covers, to negativland-esque mashups. It's a bit more hit-or-miss than Error or Nekkid, but occasionally the station finds that elusive groove of being surprising and familiar all at the same time. It's a great station to broaden your horizons, without being overly challenging.

But there's more to Radiour than its stream. It allows you to log in with Facebook and Twitter, and aims to be a place where new artists can get their music heard. I hope to find out more from Hamin Mousavi who has graciously agreed to this TUN3R interview.

Q1 Neil: Thanks so much Hamin for taking part in this interview! How long has Radiour been around for? How was the idea of the station conceived, and what's your role?

A1 Hamin: Radiour started in the summer of 2008 and has been in a closed beta until February 3:rd, 2010. So we're quite new, haha. The idea for Radiour was conceived by Karl Baron, the programmer. I just convinced him to do something with it!

I myself do anything that isn't programming; from bug-testing to icon design, support to translation.

Q2 Neil: Does Radiour have a geographic home base? Where do it's DJs hail from?

A2 Hamin: The awesome thing about Radiour is that it is made for everyone, everywhere. Our DJs are the people who add songs to the playlist, so we're probably the most democratic radio station on the planet. Most of our users are from europe and america, but we also have some asian users, mostly from japan.

Q3: Do you see Radiour primarily as radio station for people like myself to listen to. Or rather as a different kind of social hub on the net?

A3 Hamin: I'd like to think of Radiour as a place for everyone that are looking for something new and different to listen to. It is more than a radio, but it doesn't have to be if you don't want it to. You can just listen to the stream like with any radio station while others might like to vote and comment on the tracks played. Some even upload their own music, create mixtapes and spread them on twitter and facebook.

You can also as a user change pretty much anything, from the album art to the tags on the different tracks. It's a lot of fun to see what other people like and follow. We've noticed for example that listeners look at what others are adding and then search for similar tracks to add to the playlist. Small themes like these are constantly born just by having our users roam free.

Q4: You have mentioned that Radiour is a great place for new artists to spread their music. What does an artist need to do to get their music heard on your station? Can you give any examples of new artists on Radiour?

A4 Hamin: All you have to do is register yourself, upload your music and then add the songs to the playlist. It should take under 5 minutes, especially if you log in with a twitter or facebook account! You are then connected with your Radiour account to the social networks you already use and can easily keep your fans updated about new tracks.

Johan Sveide and Dj Downlow are a couple of pretty sweet artists, but check out the music search for more. Browse by genre and find something that suits your taste.

Q5 Neil: Hamin, how do you see Internet radio evolving over the coming years? Do you see things consolidating around a few big companies like Apple and CBS, or do you think the independent DJ has a future?

A5 Hamin: The big actors on the market with the big money will probably have the big artists. But there are musicians out there that produce music as a hobby or just don't want to be part of the system. And they certainly have a future, especially now when marketing yourself online is so easy!

We at Radiour are focusing a lot on these kind of artists that want to get the word out about their music. We've for example been working together with an indie music association in sweden to make sure that the functions of Radiour fit their needs.

Q6 Neil: What are your own musical tastes? What do you normally spin on Radiour?

A6 Hamin: I really like death metal with the gothenburg sound but also glitch and japanese electropop. Speaking of japan, I love the recent boom of indie artists that uses voice synthesizers for their main vocals. I usually add what I like so you'll hear a lot of metal/electropop if you listen in when I'm around.

Q7 Neil: If Radiour had its own theme song, what would it be?

A7 Hamin: 20 seconds of something that begins as chaos but ends up as a pleasant melody. That's how I envision our listeners experience on Radiour anyway!

Q8 Neil: What's planned for Radiour's future?

A8 Hamin: Other than working on the webpage? Well, we're right now trying to get Radiour into your phones so you'll be able to listen to the station on the go but still have all of the functionality of the web-version. There is still a lot left to do so I can't really say more than.

We'll keep you updated so check out our facebook or twitter page if you have more questions and want to ask us stuff.

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