By BlazeHedgehog 0 Comments
The internet is wild, an untamed wilderness. There are those who seek to tame it - and sometimes they succeed, and sometimes the Internet ends up biting back. There was a time where anybody and everybody could sign up for an account on Live365 free of charge and start their own internet radio station. For as long as I can remember, I've always been weirdly fascinated by broadcasting. The creation of TV networks and radio stations seemed really cool to me, and as a kid I would set a walkie-talkie next to my tape player and "broadcast" music to my friend across the street. The prospect of starting an internet radio station via Live365 interested me greatly, and I signed up and forged ahead, giving birth to "Blazefire Radio".
I never really grew up listening to "normal" music. I mean I guess I did at first, but soon my interest in audio/video equipment took hold and I was setting my Home Alone 2 "Talkboy" next to the TV so I could record music from Sonic 2's sound test mode, enabling me to listen to it later. If I would rent games and they had nice enough music, I would make sure to sit down and tape music from their sound test before returning the cartridge to the video rental store. As I got older, my methods got more advanced, and I learned how to patch game consoles through an old stereo system we had so I could get direct recordings straight from the hardware. While everybody else in Middle School was listening to Rob Zombie and some of Eminem's earliest hits, I was jamming out to hand-made mix tapes of Parappa the Rapper and Jet Moto. It shouldn't come as a surprise then that Blazefire Radio was populated almost exclusively by videogame music. With Earthbound songs over the bumpers, the station developed a tagline: "It's your sanctuary." Its popularity grew and eventually, BFR found itself as part of a collection of similar internet radio stations called the Zone Radio Network (or ZRN for short). ZRN provided hosting to network members, and an (awful) BFR website was established.
The Recording Industry Association of America, greedy as they are, didn't like that there were hundreds of people were using Live365 to stream licensed music free of charge (even though most of it was at extremely low bitrates - dial-up internet was still the norm, after all) and lobbied to get internet radio taxed by the same laws that govern over-the-air radio. Play a licensed song, you owe the RIAA xyz amount of dollars. Even though none of Blazefire Radio's music was governed by the RIAA, Live365 enacted sweeping changes that required everybody with a station to start paying subscription fees to stay on the air. ZRN tried to pick up the pieces by running their own, local Shoutcast internet radio broadcasting software, but restrictions on bandwidth and hosting space meant that all ZRN stations shared from the same collective pool of music. Stations in the network were re-tooled to specialize in specific genres of music, leaving little room for Blazefire Radio to sustain a unique identity.
Deep down inside, part of me still wants to relaunch Blazefire Radio, but renting servers for that kind of thing cost exorbitant amounts of money. My Live Halloween Internet radio show, "The Graveyard Shift", was a chance for me to recapture a little bit of that magic, but diminishing returns year-over-year lead me to not even bother doing a show this year - not that I had a server to broadcast from anyway.
Where I'm going with all of this is that I was recently turned on to this website called 8tracks. 8tracks lets you upload music and create a playlist from that music that anyone can listen to. To keep things legal, they have some pretty strict limitations, though. For example, no more than two songs from any given album or musician. There's a handful of others, but I managed to scrape together 108 songs to form a mix titled " Videogame Music Worth Listening To". It's about the closest thing to Blazefire Radio you're going to get today.
I may upload more music to it one day but I kind of like the idea of stopping at 108 tracks - if only for its relation to the 108 stars of destiny. Besides, I'm pretty sure you're noy supposed to create playlists this long - browsing the site, most of the playlists people have created are, at max, 30 songs in length. But, whatever.
By the way, just so you don't forget, I wrote a Sonic Colors review a couple days ago.