LIVE365 is an Internet radio broadcasting and listening network where users are able to create their own online radio stations, or choose to listen to thousands of human curated stations created by people from around the globe. LIVE365 is unique in that online radio stations on the LIVE365 network were created and managed by music and talk enthusiasts, including both hobbyists and professional broadcasters. LIVE365 also has many well established AM and FM stations that utilized the LIVE365 broadcasting platform to simulcast their terrestrial radio streams via the Live365 distribution network. The Live365 network also features radio stations from well-known artists such as Johnny Cash, David Byrne, Pat Metheny, Jethro Tull, Frank Zappa, and more. LIVE365 was created in 1999, and remains one of the longest running internet radio websites for listeners and broadcasters.
With the pending expiration of the lower royalty rate allowed for small broadcasters, investors removed their support of the company. In late December 2015, LIVE365 laid off most of its employees and vacated its office, and the few remaining employees were working from home. On January 31, 2016, LIVE365 ceased webcasting and its website redirected listeners and users to a list of competing services. The shutdown of LIVE365 also affected terrestrial AM and FM stations that used the platform, causing them to disperse to other live streams. Nearly a year to the day after its closure, LIVE365 relaunched its site and streaming services.
On January 6, 2018, Live365 was reorganized under Media Creek Inc., a Delaware-based holding company. The service is available in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, with licenses from those countries' performance rights societies.
Nanocosm Inc. (the parent company of Live365) was a technology startup founded by two roommates from the Princeton class of 1981, Alex Sanford and Steve Follmer, whose initial product was NanoHome, a 3D "Virtual Home" website featuring 3D homepages on the World Wide Web. The first release of Live365 was built by a small skunkworks team of workers at Nanocosm; it had its beginnings in a hosted community radio project developed by Nanocosm employee Andy Volk in his free time using Shoutcast technology, and later modified by employee Brian Lomeland. In 1998, Andy Volk shared the idea with Nanocosm CTO Peter Rothman, and they developed the concept for a new large-scale hosted community radio service dubbed Live365. Live365's explosive initial growth after launch in July 1999 quickly eclipsed NanoHome, and the company soon shifted to solely focus on Live365 and online audio streaming services.
At launch, broadcasting and listening on Live365 was free of charge. Stations had a maximum listener cap of 365 simultaneous listeners and 365 megabytes of storage for music and audio. In September 2001, Live365 began charging for use of its broadcasting services to remain financially viable in the wake of rising music royalty costs. More expensive plans allowed stations to have more simultaneous listeners and a greater amount of music file storage space. Members who joined before September 2001 could continue broadcasting with their original package for free. This model would later be replaced with one in which all members pay, but those who joined before September 2001 received a discount. In March 2003, Live365 launched their commercial-free membership called VIP, giving millions of listeners the opportunity for an enhanced listening experience. Since that time, Live365 has continued to progress as an internet broadcasting and listening leader.
The Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009 expired in January 2016, ending a 10-year period in which smaller online radio stations, Live365 among them, could pay reduced royalties to labels. On January 31, 2016, webcasters who are governed by rules adopted by the Copyright Royalty Board were required to pay to SoundExchange an annual, nonrefundable minimum fee of $500 for each channel and station, the fee for services with greater than 100 stations or channels being $50,000 annual.
In July 2016, Live365 was acquired by Jon Stephenson, owner of content delivery network EmpireStreaming. The following month, the website returned to its live status with signs of a possible relaunch.
An article dated May 22, 2017 appeared on the site's official Twitter page the next day, and begins with the following: "You may have heard the buzz that Live365 is officially back! Open sign-ups launched last week after giving former broadcasters from the “old” Live365 a chance to restart their stations. Now anyone with an internet connection can create a legal internet radio station in a matter of minutes by joining Live365."