Web Radio, also known as streaming or Internet Radio, is the delivery of audio broadcasts over an Internet connection. Web radio does not involve downloading of audio files from the Internet, instead this technology is a continuous stream of audio content from the server or station to the receiver or listener, usually over a broadband connection. Rather than using an actual radio, the music or programming is accessed through computer or mobile device.
Web radio stations can be broadcast stations that are providing the same content in an online stream, or online stations that do not broadcast terrestrially. The license to have an Internet radio station is compulsory, meaning that anyone can do so. However, there are licensing rules that include per performance royalty fees to the music industry. There has been a lot of attention from the blogosphere paid to the battle between webcasters and record companies over establishing fair rates. Most stations are free and ad supported.
Streaming radio can be listened to on any device that is able to connect to the Internet, including mobile devices such as the iPhone. Because there are thousands of Internet radio stations, music choice is more varied than on broadcast stations. Many stations provide the user with interactive options to personalize their streams. Popular Internet radio stations include Pandora and LastFM.