Boston BaroqueBOSTON — The beauty of Internet radio is that anyone can be a broadcaster. Of course, a great deal of planning and partnerships is required to deliver a professional streaming experience.
Boston Baroque was the first permanent Baroque orchestra in North America upon its establishment in 1973. Renowned for lively, emotionally-charged performances that reflect the eras in which the music was composed (1610–1820), the orchestra enjoys an international following that appreciates its recorded output as much as its concerts.
Global fan interest in the orchestra’s recordings was a driving influence in the launch of Boston Baroque Radio earlier this month, a 24/7 stream now live on at www.bostonbaroque.com. Working with StreamGuys, the online radio station allows us to reach tens of thousands of listeners worldwide on a regular basis, entertaining the current fan base outside of the concert hall while developing a new outlet for audience building.
StreamGuys’ experience with professional radio broadcasters was instrumental in our decision. Our focus was on launching a pure-play stream that sounded like a true radio station, with introductions and conclusions at the end of every piece. With great care given to the programming element, we needed to deliver that content with the same reliability of an over-the-air station.
We had conversations with several engineers in the broadcast space, many of whom confirmed StreamGuys offers a reliable service with exceptional audio quality.
The audio quality coming from the StreamGuys content delivery network architecture has been outstanding. With three Grammy nominations to our name, Boston Baroque’s 24 commercially available recordings have been produced at the highest definition possible. Therefore, it was crucial to translate that quality to the streaming experience. To date, feedback on the streaming quality from the board of directors, our music director and listeners has been positive.
Certainly, many CDNs can deliver quality and reliability in audio streams. However, StreamGuys offers an HTML5 multimedia player — called SGplayer — that delivers a richer consumer experience. The player, which is embedded within our website, connects listeners to Amazon and other sales outlets via live links, allowing fans of specific pieces to purchase the music from these sites.
Our listeners can also access and enjoy the player from the platform of their choice, which is a substantial benefit of SGplayer. Importantly, listeners can stream the station on a variety of mobile devices — a necessity for audience-building. This ensures that Boston Baroque remains relevant with younger listeners who consume music through nontraditional means, including Android and iOS devices.
StreamGuys additionally is supporting our outreach in the streaming universe through listings on iHeartRadio and TuneIn, two streaming aggregation services that expand our visibility online. StreamGuys remains one of the few CDNs whose clients’ hosted streams are recognized and supported on the iHeartRadio platform, which offers another advantage for audience expansion.
Understanding our audience is important for growth, and Boston Baroque Radio is using a comprehensive suite of business software from StreamGuys. Specifically, the SGmon service provides us with real-time analytics to monitor peak usage time, helping us make informed decisions in regards to scaling streams and associated concurrent user limits. Additionally, SGreports software will offer a deeper dive into audience analytics, with detailed metrics on content usage tied to hits, visitors, streaming platforms and play duration.
The software package includes SGalerts, which triggers email alerts in the event of a service interruption. We’re immediately notified if an encoder or hardware component associated with the streaming architecture fails. This is a value-added service that supplements StreamGuys’ exceptional technical support.
Moving forward, we expect to explore advanced services made possible through StreamGuys’ SGplayer. This includes revenue generation through dynamic ad insertion, which would allow our sponsors to become part of our online presence. We will soon begin streaming live concert performances on Boston Baroque Radio, which could potentially drive a subscription service protected by StreamGuys’ SGpasskey system. In the meantime, we’re looking forward to listener feedback to determine how we evolve the service in the future.
For information, contact Jonathan Speaker at StreamGuys in California at (707) 667-9479 or visit www.streamguys.com.