Live DJ broadcasts powered by WebRTC
Please…not another video conferencing enterprise/consumer/whatever service of 2,4,6…people talking and chatting. Well, this one sure isn’t!
The exciting thing about WebRTC is that you can never predict what applications it will serve. Although many players are investing in these classic video conferencing services, others are using it for completely different applications. Such is the case with a French startup founded in 2013 by Yannick Gouez, Eymeric Pierre-Louis and Romain Agostini.
unltd.fm is at the crossroads of Music Streaming Services and Web Radios: the startup offers an interface that allows DJs and Radio Hosts to produce live and interactive music broadcasts. With this platform, DJs and Radio personalities are able to create their own broadcasts directly from their web browser: Log-in, plug-in your equipment or use the in-browser mixing console and you’re ready to go.
Music Fans can discover music through live broadcast indexed by their musical content (Artist played, Music Style, Tempo, Popularity, etc.). Viewers can also interact with the broadcast using Social Networks like Twitter and Instagram and can also Comment, “Like” and Share the tracks played. Untld.fm claims to offer viewers the experience of what “Smart Radios” should really be.
This web broadcasting service uses WebRTC as its core technology. “In the beginning, there were Shoutcast servers, created in 1999, and Icecast (open source). These servers had become pretty much the standards but remained complicated tools to use because you needed to know how to configure them. The arrival of HTML5 APIs have greatly simplified things,” explains Yannick Gouez. “Our service is live: the concept is that of a radio. It works in one to many broadcasting and can be scaled to support a high amount of simultaneous listeners”.
The core technology relies on a WebRTC MCU that allows to establish One-To-Many broadcasting connection from the Broadcaster to the listeners.
A Broadcasting gateway is also being implemented in order to allow ‘standard’ and plugin-less broadcasting to non-WebRTC devices (iOS devices, smartTVs, etc.).
Automatic ‘over-the-line’ track detection is provided by an Audio Fingerprinting engine integrated into the MCU.
“We have optimized our WebRTC platform to allow OPUS Stereo 48Khz broadcasting which provides a better quality than MP3”.
While Audio and Video streams are broadcasted using one-to-many connections over webRTC, the interactive features rely on the Data Channel.
Among Technical challenge faced are:
- Achieving high quality audio broadcasting over the open internet using WebRTC
- Feeding WebRTC with WebAudio
- Broadcasting to non-WebRTC browser & devices (currently in development)
Untld.fm is going after the semi-professional DJ market, a rapidly growing population that needs to federate its fans. “Typically, a DJ who broadcasts one show per week and who is going to reach 100 to 150 listeners. There are many analogies with the principal of the webinar,” points out Yannick Gouez.
Untld.fm is currently in Alpha version with Beta version planned for Q4 2014.
Applications for the Beta program are open on untld.fm