Fredwilson I have an internet radio station called You can listen by clicking on that link or by clicking on the black banner at the bottom of this blog.

I add one new song each day and so when you listen to, you are listening to my favorite songs (mostly new stuff that I find on the web) in reverse chronological order. That's it. Pretty simple and very easy for me to program.

As Internet radio services go, is tiny. It averages around sixty listeners per day and gets around 1,300 visitors per month.

Fredwilsonfm stats is a perfect example of nanomedia. The service has a tiny audience and will never amount to anything other than a hobby of mine. There may be some hardcore fans of, but they are measured in the tens, certainly less than a hundred. It will never be a commercial property. It will never run advertising.

So it's easy to ignore services like this. And many do. But those who do miss a very important point about nanomedia. Each service in its own right is borderline meaningless. But the aggregation of all of these nanomedia services are a big deal.

My friend John Borthwick and I were interviewed by Seth Goldstein a few weeks back at his social media bootcamp. The video of that interview is here. I asserted then that "the aggregation of all of this social media is the greatest media that has ever been created."

Let's keep looking at music blogging (which is what powers My stream and your stream and your friend's stream might not get much of an audience. But when you combine them all together as the Hype Machine,, and We Are Hunted have done, you get music services which start to amass sizeable audiences.

On the open web, services get built on top of services. is built on top of Tumblr and Streampad. Hype Machine and are built on top of services like As we move up the aggregation stack, we start to assemble larger audiences. And then a song like the Velvet Underground song, Pale Blue Eyes, I posted to a while back can get more plays (1505 as of right now) than the total number of visits gets each month.

The new media is a disaggregated medium, where the channels themselves may be small but the microchunks that flow out of them can be very large. And that's why nanomedia is important.

#My Music#VC & Technology#Web/Tech#Weblogs

Comments (Archived):

  1. fnazeeri

    Sounds like a great non-profit unless there is some way to monetize.

  2. gbattle

    There’s an important element missing within the aggregation stack and music is the perfect example domain. It will be important to figure out how to separate the discovery filter/taste function from the streaming music delivery service. Attribution (metadata) should eventually be separate from distribution (audio stream).Using your example, if your “Pale Blue Eyes” becomes popular by orders of magnitude via multiple aggregated discovery channels (HypeM, etc.), there’s a point at which the serving of the audio stream should redirect from Tumblr’s CDN/cloud to scalable and legal rights holder like or YouTube. Don’t depend on “fair use” and “under the radar” protections. Transfer the liability and expense – but not the attribution – to the proper channels.

    1. fredwilson

      That would be wonderful. I’ve asked for that service on this blog about a half dozen times over the years. I totally agree with you

    2. Mark Essel

      Very cool way of looking at a smooth transition for serving, as well as decoupling filtering from providing.

    3. harpos_blues

      Gbattle,I agree fully and completely with you. There are several sites that are design to stream on a vast scale, pay royalties, and allow the end-user to post embeds.Using as an example, any artist/rights-holder/authorized artist representative can upload music for free. The meta-data services are there (via MusicBrainz among others), royalties are tracked and paid on a quarterly basis.So Fred could easily find a song, create one or more “playlists”, and embed those playlists anywhere. The minimum length (number of songs) for a playlist on is 15.I’m all for artists getting paid. Online popularity, or creating a “meme” is not a good model, if revenue isn’t being shared with the artist.The chances of an artist being discovered by mainstream agencies for use in other media (i.e. a television advert — where the real money is) are miniscule. So please use a music services that tracks and pays royalties.

      1. fredwilson

        The music industry needs to make this a standard offering. I mp3 blog in tumblr not

        1. harpos_blues

          Fred,Believe it or not, it’s not the “music industry” as a whole. Artists have contractual obligations, much like term sheets for VCs/entrepreneurs. While there’s no such thing as a “typical recording contract”, there are several common/recurring clauses that appear in a recording contract. One of the more recent clauses is a “digital distribution agreement”. Prior to 2002, digital distribution agreements weren’t that visible, and rather rare, either on behalf on the artist, or record label/publisher.”Recording contracts” often have a duration of 3-5 years. So we’re only now seeing maturation of contracts that included digital distribution from their inception.It’s an interesting development, from both the legal and technical perspective.

        2. harpos_blues

          Fred,I took a quick peek at your profile a couple of days back. Of the previous 100 songs you had scrobbled, about 98 of those songs were available via I didn’t check MySpace or other online venues.So again I say: Why can’t you select a service that pays royalties on your behalf?Just wondering at this point…

          1. fredwilson

            Because I post the music to tumblr and then stream on via streampad. doesn’t work with those systems. What I need is streampad or tumblr to solve this for me

  3. Jon Michael Miles

    Prior to the dotcom bubble burst, I worked at a music fan site aggregation company called I was hired out of Tribeca by my former boss and was essentially tasked with contacting young webmasters with sites about Dr. Dre, Eminem, Nsync, Vanhalen and anyone else you can think of, to buy there site.The model was based on the number of uniques the site had, and presumably the play was we paid X for a visitor, and sold that to advertisers for Y. I say presumably because the company failed. Mind you this is in San Francisco right around the time Napster was imploding so the internet music vibe was difficult to say the least. This was circa 2000 and we had real VC money. I forget exactly who was in, but Sequoia comes to mind, but don’t hold me to that.Over the course of 12 months I talked to hundreds of webmasters, but three webmaster stick out in my mind – Danny who had a rap network, Dr. Dre, Eminem and more with about 500k uniques a month, and Jessica, at 350k uniques a month for her site about Nsync. These two kids were making $10k a month at the time. I’m not kidding.The concepts of selling their site was mostly but not completely lost on them. Their parents saw the opportunity but generally were unsupportive and coy.The third was a Van Halen webmaster who was in his 30s at the time. He lived in Australia, and he had about 500k uniques to his site. (Which has no advertising to this day, which I think is hugely important to notice)He and I ICQ’d for hours about his site, and he could see the promise of being part of an internet play, but in the end it was still a hugely tough sell to convince someone to sell their site, still run it, and have the same “heart” in the matter.I guess my point is that aggregation of this type will have to be completely volunteer, or social media aggregates, because as soon as you start talking to people about buying their hobby, it’s a whole different ball game

    1. fredwilson

      Yup. Read yochai benkler on this subject. He’s brilliant

      1. Mark Essel

        I think I should too, the transition of passion for hobbies to monetization is pretty important to my way of thinking right now.

  4. Adam Wexler

    not only do the likes of hype machine & amass sizable audiences, but they also do a pretty decent job of identifying the trends. should we call this “nanomedia aggregation?”

    1. fredwilson

      If you’d like 🙂

  5. Chris Rechtsteiner

    The ability to aggregate content is predicated upon two key elements – meta data and quantity. There is no question re: the quantity of social media available, even if only focusing on personal music stations. However, there isn’t a consistent way these nanomedia services support meta data (if they support it at all, e.g. Twitter).Once the creation services realize the importance of the meta data, the ability to aggregate it based upon very specific criteria or very general criteria will be a reality.

    1. harpos_blues

      Sites like MusicBrainz ( provide meta-data for use for by music blogging sites. The underlying technology is open source, and there’s a fully published API.MusicBrainz has been around for more than a decade at this point, so there really no excuse (other than ignorance)

  6. ReplaceAds

    You may want to use ReplaceAds to monetize your station so that your hobby can at least generate enough money to pay your SoundExchange obligations.

    1. fredwilson

      Is this in stream audio ads?

  7. Morgan Warstler

    I’d really like to understand the soundexchange side of this. What are the costs?

    1. harpos_blues

      Morgan,I agree, you could source your “nano” music blog from sites that already pay royalties. Otherwise Fred will be obligated to pay SoundExchange. Since Fred’s traffic si small, but larger when aggregated. This could be important revenue for these artists (even if it’s a trickle of partial pennies).Pennies add up rather quickly, especially if one or more of these artists becomes more popular than a “flash-in-the pan”.

      1. Morgan Warstler

        I’m not arguing for royalties, I just want to know if streampad has confronted the issue yet. The RIAA is still beating the jesus out of everybody who’s trying to do it legally.

        1. harpos_blues

          Morgan,I’m a seasoned veteran of the royalty wars, It’s not all about the RIAA. You’ll also want to to figure in mechanical royalties, and the far more lucrative songwriter/publisher royalties which are covered by ASCAP/BMI/SESAC, etc.It’s a real issue, far more complicated than the arguments discussed by the popular blogs on the Interwebs. If you care, please track the action on the Library of Congress, as they have purview on copyright and archival policies,

          1. ShanaC

            On the number- where in the Library of Congress?

          2. harpos_blues

            Shana,Sorry for the delay in response. Here’s the Library of Congress site(s), specific to copyright in US:US Copyright Office: Royalty Board (which governs music royalties): of these links feature contact info for the appropriate people, and yes, they answer the phone and respond to e-mail.Digital archive information (Library of Congress Digital Preservation Publications): http://www.digitalpreservat…The LOC National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program (NDIIPP) has published guidelines/recommendations for digital archiving of audio & video. These guidelines are updated about every six months. Please see:Sustainability of Digital Formats Planning for Library of Congress Collectionshttp://www.digitalpreservat…Hope this helps

        2. fredwilson

          Not that I know of. I’d like them to do that though

    2. fredwilson

      A tenth of a cent per listen. But I don’t pay them because I have not found an automated system to do that through streampad

  8. amyjokim

    >> On the open web, services get built on top of servicesHere’s my question: how does this trend apply to games? We ( embrace this model, and we’re developing remixable puzzle games that “chunk” at the micro-level. Big question is where the best distribution/aggregation channels are, and how those channels are monetized. It’s a dynamic landscape.Thoughts?

    1. fredwilson

      There’s a lot going on around monetizing games. You can out ads in via mochi and others. And a bunch of companies are working on virtual goods/in game purchases. I like the latter model better

  9. Dario Salvelli

    Dear Fred, you can also write a tutorial to integrate tumblr+streampad+dropbox with a blog in order to make a nanomedia. 😉

    1. fredwilson

      I should do that

  10. Bruce Warila

    Nanomedia needs a different licensing mechanism…Artists now have unprecedented control over the following equation:(listeners * frequency * conversion rate = paying fan)The fact that someone like Fred can deliver listeners, frequency and probably conversion (via influence), but that he also has be cognizant of licensing and royalty issues tells me that there’s silly friction in the system that needs to be eliminated. (Hear me out…)Artists (especially new artists or artists with new songs) should be able to opt out of all rights (at the track level) for a set period of time (set by the artist) for the purpose of encouraging frictionless, no-hassle exposure. Not a CC or CC0 license. All rights would revert back to the artist after the end-date, which would become the most important bit of metadata to those freely promoting songs. Something like a Promo Registry.I am looking for some expert feedback on this if anyone would care to share.Yes, I realize songwriters also need to be compensated, but there’s ways to reinvent songwriter compensation ( somewhat within the context of what I just described.

    1. fredwilson

      many new artists are licensing services like rcrdlbl for little or no cost in return for promotion. But how can I play that game too?

      1. Bruce Warila

        I am going to step out on a limb and assume that the revenue you personally capture through your involvement with artists and/or songs is going to go to some charity? If that’s the case, what you need is relatively easy to create and probably just as easy to sell to rightsholders.First, the sell to rightsholders: The rightsholder (artist, label, publisher, songwriter, or all combined) agree to donate a song to your ‘bucket-of-songs’. You promote your bucket-of-songs and sell it for a fixed price ($20 for 50 songs for example); 100% of the net sales revenue (after infrastructure costs) goes to a charity. The rightsholder gets the benefit of your promotion efforts in exchange for donating a song.Second, the simple utility you need: A Donate Your Song button and a Buy My Bucket of Songs button. At the other end of the Donate Song button is the simple utility that you need to enable a rightsholder to upload a song, click to agree to terms, plus a few fields for simple verification. As the curator of your bucket of songs, you will also need to be able to add and subtract songs from the bucket, as you will be proclaiming that you have handpicked the songs in the bucket you are promoting. At the other end of the Buy My Bucket of Songs button is a preview facility and a checkout process that even lets consumers name their own price (optional) for your Bucket of Songs.The charity angle is easy because you are going to be asking rightsholders to waive certain rights (royalties and revenue share) to make it all work. Going the non-charity route is just a matter of adding revenue distribution mechanisms on top of what we are already working on. I would probably work this out through a company like Tunecore where the songs come in, and the money goes out through them, thus eliminating ownership verification hassles (the additional channel would be nice also). The charity model could eventually have a tax write-off component (for rightsholders) to it.I have most of what I just described already developed. It all runs on Amazon. If you want to be one of the first people to assemble and promote a bucket of songs for charity, let me know. What we created handles all media types. What I am describing has been a background project to this point…

        1. fredwilson

          Way too complicated. I just want to buy global rights to redistribute all music on my blog

          1. Bruce Warila

            Not sure I understand your goal?You want to buy rights so you can stream ALL music, give away this music, or sell the music, or all of the above?It’s a LOT easier to deal with independents that control 100% of their rights (see solution above). When it comes to songs controlled by others, get a widget from Amazon or some digital music store where the music has already been cleared by all the rightsholders .If your object is to handpick songs and generate as much (net) income (for whatever reason – artists, charity, ?) see the solution above. It doesn’t get much simpler than that (other than widgets from stores like Amazon – which will yield very little return).

          2. fredwilson

            I wants to stream whatever I want

          3. Bruce Warila

            If you only want to stream (all and any music), but enable nothing else (no downloads, no sales and absolutely nothing interactive), from a page/site you control, register as webcaster through SoundExchange. It will cost you at least $500 a year and you will have to track and report everything you spin.Nothing can be interactive “To be “noninteractive,” a service may not offer “on-demand” access to individual sound recordings or offer programs that are “specially created for the recipient.” Playing requests does not make a service interactive provided that the service does not substantially consist of sound recordings that are performed within one hour of the time they are requested or at a designated time.”I am sure there are services you can hook up with that will make programming, tracking and reporting easy to do (Live 365 perhaps), but this is not my area of expertise..Enjoy..

          4. harpos_blues

            Fred,I agree that it’s currently to complex for a “civilian” (ie for someone with a personal blog). I’ve worked with professionals who do this for a living.In a nutshell, you listen to a variety of artists, each of whom may have distribution agreements with differing entities. Currently, there’s no easy way to assure global distribution rights for “Fred’s Playlist”, unless you are creating a soundtrack for Film/TV or advert. And it’s still a song-by-song basis.That’s what the aforementioned “professionals” do, the job title is “Music Supervisor”.There are agencies that specialize in this type of work also. Take a look at Ricall ( . Ricall has a large catalogue of “alt/indie” music which may match your tastes.To my my knowledge they don’t yet have a a licensing package for individual bloggers, but you never know until you ask.

          5. fredwilson

            Thanks. I’ll check them out.

  11. ShanaC

    Inserting ad content? Running baby ads along the the player…I could totally see this being a hit with people who have variable tastes in music- or where the music is hard to reach otherwise.This seems much better than a podcast for distribution of music. Or even if a group wanted to do a number of podcasts that topically relate.. (a group across the country wants to a number of different people on a number of topics about, say, poetry from foreign countries) This seems to be at base line functioning better than anything out there currently if:a) you can get multiple users to aggregate togetherandB)have the ability to delete content over time (so you don’t have old stuff in there forever).Just sayin’And that, I think, would make a lot of money. Especially if you can run advertisements somehow and hook it up to cars, ect, as a a premium. It would displace a lot of what is going on for broadcast media…

  12. iamronen

    My wife and I have recently (~3 months) launched a Romanian website about femininity (for what it’s worth to any Romanian speaking readers: It is already a top-ranking website for most of the relevant keyword in Romanian. We have not done any pro-active marketing other then out-of-the-box SEO compatibility that we inherited from WordPress.As my wife and I talked this morning I realized that as a late-early adapter involved in technology – I consume related information about technology, the internet and what-not (including this website). This information is often in the form of large numbers and statistics – that make the field of internet and technology seem like one big, hugely populated & crowded entity. Then when I focus on our tiny island of work I realize how blinding that perspective has been for me. – Internet numbers & statistics are actually not that impressive – they are a small fraction of the general population (by almost any definition you choose for “general population”). – There is a vast emptiness of quality content – so by actually focusing on a specific domain/language/culture – we can (and have!) quickly stand out. – Technology currently seems to separate my social life in two – the people I know and engage online are almost completely separated from the people I know and engage offline – there are very few people who exist in both domains.Sweeping generalizations and statistics cannot accommodate (and probably miss out altogether) most of day-to-day life, needs and people. There is indeed a huge media potential when technology meets life. That meeting is facilitated by (to quote Fred from comments on another recent post) care & purpose, NOT by talk of monetizing. Life is about a quest, for every person – a personal quest – money is a marginal factor.Just yesterday I watched part of a video of a talk Joel Spolsky gave at Google (… about StackOverflow. At one point he explains that you probably could not get him to give a full day of consulting a week at any price, yet at StackOverflow he does exactly that out of a sense of giving and not for any financial reward.I believe that potential new media will thrive in ecological circumstances, I believe it will shy away and avoid economical ones. It’s a nice and cozy predicament – isn’t it?

    1. fredwilson

      I totally agree with this comment. Great insights

  13. Rob K

    Thanks for sharing, Fred, I’ll check it out. As a big music fan and ex-Austinite, I’m always looking for new music.For the life of me, I cannot figure out why the big music companies have not embraced Internet radio in all it forms. Discovering new music, either through friends or through computer services like Pandora or Echo Nest, and only one click away from buying it, is such a no-brainer compared to terrestrial or satellite radio.

    1. fredwilson

      They are getting there finally. They’ve taken a much softer line on imeem and playlist recently

  14. julie_poplawski

    Nano media may never be marketable but it’s significance is profound. People united around music, or belief need those connections. Nano-social or whatever media is a modern method for filling that need. (or I would say Filling My Cup! more coffee and donuts in the church lobby… well not for those of us who love the authenticity of nano-media families.

  15. vincentvw

    I’m going even more nano than you. I’m using + Facebook connect to share a music-station only for my friends. I’m tired of the witch-hunt that is the media-industry (deleted my account as well) and want to get back to the reason why I like to find and share music.Also, as a European, I find the the US-centricity of (online) media very, very bothersome (asking people to pirate, basically).

  16. Brad Parker

    Fred – most excellent -my political work is in what we call the “micro-media” – Progressives distribute our stream of information into the river (Internet) through email, enewletters, eaction alerts etc. without the macro media including the web seeing it – in music > my company (muzlink), which I have mentioned to you, is developing an aggregation of Indie metadata streams building micro to macro. BTW > I think if you are getting more than 10 participants a day you are a micro service. Even 1 to 10, which I believe would be “nano” adds up.bp

  17. Sachmo

    One of the best articles I’ve read here in a while. I like stuff like this.

  18. lindsaycampbell

    Hey! I enjoy your station when I remember to tune in. Want to thank you for Vetiver’s “Hold on babe” and also share my favorite thing about LA so far:…An artist or band I usually have never heard of, everyday, live in the studio, and then streamed eternally afterward. An amazing way to discover music (albeit in a non-passive way).L

    1. fredwilson

      Yeah, kcrw is awesome. I listen over the internet a fair bit but when I’m in LA I tune in all the time

  19. billc124

    Fred,I love and your blog. I have wanted to setup my own internet radio station for a while now, and I just checked out Tumblr and Streampad. They both look like they will do the trick except that tumblr only lets you upload one song per day. I would like to have more right out of the gate. Also, how do you get your tumblr to only display that static image and not the actual player for the mp3s that are on tumblr? Hope that question makes sense.If you go to my tumblr site, you will see what I mean.Bill

    1. fredwilson

      I’ll check it out and get back to you. But tumblr won’t change its one song per day limit. I like it because it makes it easy for me to program my station. But I understand how that’s an issue in the beginning

  20. fredwilson

    Wow. I’m flattered and delighted to hear that