Friday, March 27, 2015
How urRadio Wants To Make You The Radio Station
Story by Benjamin F. Kuo
Is the world ready for everyone to be their own, radio DJ--and are there enough people out there who want to broadcast themselves to the world, live, with a music stream? Los Angeles-based startup urRadio (www.urradio.com) thinks so. We spoke with founder and CEO Tyler Francois to hear about his vision for making anyone an Internet radio DJ, and how the team--made up of former Yahoo! Music engineers--is tackling the streaming music space.
What is urRadio?
Tyler Francois: urRadio is an all new, social media app, which allows you to host your own Internet radio station. It allows you to interact with friends and followers, and live in perfect sync. You can turn on a live mike, talk live over your station, put your voice over the music, mute music, give shoutouts, and play music. UrRadio is changing how people listen to music, by combining music streaming with live broadcasting. We're basically integrating live, social, and music. Users can follow their friends, other people with their same musical tastes, celebrities, and role models, and see live, social commentary. UrRadio also allow you to host your very own internet radio station from the comfort of your own home. It's also the only streaming service broadcasting at 432 Hz.
Talk about your team and your background? >
Tyler Francois: We have a fairly lean team right now, eight full time developers, three of whom previously worked for other, streaming music services, including Yahoo! Music. Our CTO was the Senior Web Engineer at Yahoo Music, and helped launch many of its international platforms, and helped rebuild the original Yahoo Music and Messenger radio players. Our VP of Technology was at Boom Music, which Launch.com acquired and later became part of Yahoo. We have vast experience in the social fields as well.
How many people do you think want to be their own DJ or radio personality?
Tyler Francois: Think of it like this. It's not just people who want to be a radio personality. Think of it like a Twitter for music. You follow your favorite friends and celebrities on Twitter, and what we're doing here is the same for music. You can tune into your friends and others and hear a song you never heard of, add songs to your playlist, hear what your favorite celebrity is working on while they are working out, hear them talk through a live mike, and hear them give shout outs. You also have a vast number of people in the social world, the YouTubers, the Viners, the podcasters, who have all made a living and career, and enjoy being a personality on social media. UrRadio can be a powerful social media outlet for those users. They can talk live with their listeners, and chat with them in a way that has never been done before. It also means, when you get into your vehicle, instead of being limited to those six to nine pre-programmed stations in your car, you have access to millions of live, Internet stations with your favorite radio personalities.
There is already lots of competition in the streaming music area, what do you think you can add to that area?
Tyler Francois: There are only a handful of very large, music streaming companies in this space. You don't see many young startups, because of two major reasons. First, it's very costly, and because there are lots of content and rights issues. However, we felt there was a need for live content. FM radio has been around for decades, and hasn't seen any significant changes in technology. We thought we could bring something to the table, and provide some live content to Internet radio. Right now, when you go to the beach and want to listen to the same songs with your friends, radio lets you sync up with them. That's what you can do with urRadio. UrRadio also gives you the technology to power your own radio station, and also includes some patented ways to monetize your channel that are not found elsewhere.
What's the business model behind this?
Tyler Francois: urRadio is offering additional technology and features for paying subscribers. unlike existing competitors, we are not playing advertisements or charging for mobile access. Where our paying subscriptions are, is for additional features and technology. Those are perks and premium care. We are focused on users who are willing to pay, and get them to pay more. We're doing what Farmville did with their game, and its sort of how it works in Vegas—it's those one percent who are whales who bring in the revenue. We'll offer up additional perks and features, additional tiers at higher price levels.
What's the biggest challenge for your company?
Tyler Francois: I think our biggest challenge, coming out of the gate, is growing our user base, and continuing to acquire radio personalities. Users can scan, click, play, and listen to stations, but the concept of urRadio is to let people listen to other people live, and have an experience together. We have signed many very large influencers and celebrities, who will be providing live content on our service, and we'll be continuing to acquire qualified candidates to help create content.