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Radiojar Wants to Add The Human Element to Online Music

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Radiojar is a social music platform that allows anyone to create their own web radio station without spending loads of time finding the right software and hardware to get started. The Athens, Greece based start-up wants to add the human element to online music which we are currently lacking with services like Pandora, Slacker Radio and Spotify. Here is a interview I had last week with RadioJar’s co-Founder Stathis Koutsogeorgos about the his company’s creation, the future of web radio and the enviornment for start-ups with the instability in Greece’s economy.

What inspired the creation of Radiojar?
Our first idea was to build something that allowed online DJing among friends. Based on this concept in 2009, we begun researching what technology we could use to achieve it. We realized early in 2010 that there was a huge gap in the solutions available online for internet radio stations, and started to investigate this market further. We ended up developing a prototype for the server-side live stream mixing, and then continued focused on internet radio to come up with Radiojar in 2011.

Besides the lack of the human element, why do you think online radio is so stagnant?
People expect more interaction and control when they experience something online. The new, internet-only radio stations know this well and are adapting and we’re here to help them do it with a reduced cost. The terrestrial radio stations that simply broadcast the same stream online appear dated and non-interesting to an online audience: They are too corporate and standardised, and they are tightly regulated by playlists. We can help them get an internet strategy and expand on it.

I noticed that RadioJar is working on some pretty advanced technology. What has the development process been like?
We have been trying to find technological solutions that are as open as possible, trustworthy, reasonably priced, play well with others and allow us to scale. We’re implementing a complex platform, so we have to use many different technologies to achieve the result we’re aiming for and we’ve found the above guidelines have served us well in keeping things smooth and simple. We believe in open source software and we try to contribute as much as we can to the communities of the software solutions we’re using.

How has the start-up community been affected by the instability of the economy in Greece?
It is true that there is much pessimism and uncertainty for the future, but somehow networking forums and entrepreneurship events are blossoming. This caused a new wave of entrepreneurial activity in Greece and the future looks promising. We’re very optimistic. Things are tough, but there are always opportunities, even within a recession.

What do you think web radio will look like in the future?
We are witnessing a huge change in the web radio field. Numbers of internet radio listeners are growing every day (as opposed to terrestrial radio listeners), and this creates a need for quality, competitive online radio, strong enough to resist against other music related services. We believe that this, in conjunction with the new technology we’re bringing to the field, will lead to an increase in live, interactive shows that engage listeners in new and more meaningful ways.

What are some of the challenges you guys are currently facing?
We’re self-funded, so we’re in a constant battle to meet our targets while staying in budget. We are looking into securing some investments that will allow us to grow in the long term. As our project gets closer to launch, we’re facing the challenge of how to better reach our target market, offer a valuable service and stay relevant.