Internet radio is a digital audio service transmitted via the Internet. Broadcasting on the Internet is referred to as webcasting since it is not transmitted broadly through wireless means, it can either be used as a stand-alone device running through the internet, or as a software running through a single computer. Internet radio is used to communicate and spread messages through the form of talk, it is distributed through a wireless communication network connected to a switch packet network via a disclosed source.'Internet radio involves streaming media, presenting listeners with a continuous stream of audio that cannot be paused or replayed, much like traditional broadcast media. Internet radio is distinct from podcasting, which involves downloading rather than streaming. Internet radio services offer news, sports and various genres of music—every format, available on traditional broadcast radio stations. Many Internet radio services are associated with a corresponding traditional radio station or radio network, although low start-up and ongoing costs have allowed a substantial proliferation of independent Internet-only radio stations.
The first Internet radio service was launched in 1993. As of 2017, the most popular internet radio platforms and applications in the world include TuneIn Radio, iHeartRadio,and Sirius XM. Internet radio services are accessible from anywhere in the world with a suitable internet connection available; this has made internet radio suited to and popular among expatriate listeners. Some major networks like TuneIn Radio, Pandora Radio, iHeartRadio and Citadel Broadcasting in the United States, Chrysalis in the United Kingdom, restrict listening to in-country due to music licensing and advertising issues. Internet radio is suited to listeners with special interests, allowing users to pick from a multitude of different stations and genres less represented on traditional radio. Internet radio is listened to on a standard home PC or similar device, through an embedded player program located on the respective station's website. In recent years, dedicated devices that resemble and offer the listener a similar experience to a traditional radio receiver have arrived on the market.
Streaming technology is used to distribute Internet radio using a lossy audio codec. Streaming audio formats include MP3, Ogg Vorbis, Windows Media Audio, RealAudio, HE-AAC. Audio data is continuously transmitted serially over the local network or internet in TCP or UDP packets reassembled at the receiver and played a second or two later; the delay is called lag, is introduced at several stages of digital audio broadcasting. A local tuner simulation program includes all the online radios that can be heard in the air in the city. In 2003, revenue from online streaming music radio was US$49 million. By 2006, that figure rose to US$500 million. A February 21, 2007 "survey of 3,000 Americans released by consultancy Bridge Ratings & Research" found that "s much as 19% of U. S. consumers 12 and older listen to Web-based radio stations." In other words, there were "some 57 million weekly listeners of Internet radio programs. More people listen to online radio than to satellite radio, high-definition radio, podcasts, or cell-phone-based radio combined."
An April 2008 Arbitron survey showed that, in the US, more than one in seven persons aged 25–54 years old listen to online radio each week. In 2008, 13 percent of the American population listened to the radio online, compared to 11 percent in 2007. Internet radio functionality is built into many dedicated Internet radio devices, which give an FM like receiver user experience. In the fourth quarter of 2012, TuneIn Radio, iHeart Radio, other subscription-based and free Internet radio services accounted for nearly one quarter of the average weekly music listening time among consumers between the ages of 13 and 35, an increase from a share of 17 percent the previous year; as Internet-radio listening rose among the 13-to-35 age group, listening to AM/FM radio, which now accounts for 24 percent of music-listening time, declined 2 percentage points. In the 36-and-older age group, by contrast, Internet radio accounted for just 13 percent of music listening, while AM/FM radio dominated listening methods with a 41 percent share.
47% of all Americans ages 12 and older—an estimated 124 million people—said they have listened to online radio in the last month, while 36% have listened in the last week. These figures are up from 45% and 33% in 2013; the average amount of time spent listening increased from 11 hours, 56 minutes per week in 2013 to 13 hours 19 minutes in 2014. As might be expected, usage numbers are much higher for teens and younger adults, with 75% of Americans ages 12–24 listening to online radio in the last month, compared to 50% of Americans ages 25–54 and 21% of Americans 55+; the weekly figures for the same age groups were 37 % and 13 %, respectively. In 2015, it was recorded that 53% of Americans, or 143 million people, ages 12 and up listen to internet radio; some stations, such as Primordial Radio, use Internet radio as a platform as opposed to other means such as FM or DAB, as it gives greater freedom to broadcast as they see fit, without being subject to regulatory bodies such as Ofcom in the UK.
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