StillStream is an ambient, non-commercial, zero-revenue independent net radio station based in the United States. Our mission is to make ambient artists successful. We play strictly by the rules when it comes to music licensing. There are numerous people to whom we are grateful for generous support. We have been broadcasting since 2005 and hope to keep broadcasting for many years to come.
The original idea for StillStream came from Ian Clay of Parasme Records, who felt that the ambient genre needed more radio airplay options for artists. He also felt that the world needed a dedicated net radio station that would both promote the ambient genre as well as bring together ambient artists and fans into a single supportive community. Inspired by this idea, we set about to create:
- An independent, non-commercial net radio station that ran no ads or other obnoxious content
- A station that would play quality ambient music by artists at any level of fame or commercial success.
- A place where fans could meet their favorite artists, and where artists could actually meet the people who dig their music.
- A station that focused on live music performances and live radio programs as much as possible.
- A community of artists and fans who would attend live broadcasts, both by listening and by participating in live chat.
- A vehicle for expanding the fan base for the ambient genre as a whole.
- A station that could be sustainably kept on the air despite having absolutely no revenue, without sending the owner to the poor house.
After several weeks of work, StillStream first began broadcasting on March 1, 2005 and has been on the air non-stop ever since. During this time, we grew from having just a couple of listeners on an occasional basis to being a full fledged radio station with many listeners from all over the globe tuned in at all hours of the day and night. Our library grew from having just a few dozen artists to being one of the largest repositories of quality independent ambient music on the net. We even got to the #1 spot on Google for the search phrase “ambient radio” for a time, and remain in the top ten.
With no false modesty, we think it is now safe to say that StillStream is one of the finest ambient net radio stations around. Though we are by no means the only great ambient net radio station, we are the only ambient net radio station that we know of that focuses on live music and live programs. We are very proud of StillStream and look forward to many years of continued service to the ambient community. We hope our listeners find StillStream to be as fulfilling as we do.
In August of 2011, ownership of StillStream was transferred from Darrell Burgan to Howard Moscovitz of electro-music.com. StillStream continued to offer an excellent stream of ambient music as well as our live programming, with the added benefit of being part of the even larger and more dynamic community of artists that is electro-music.com. Though Darrell was no longer associated with the ownership or maintenance of StillStream, we were very pleased to become part of the electro-music.com neighbourhood for a time.
In late 2014 the station become independent once again, and ownership of the station transferred into the hands of a new admin team (Joel Sutton, Joe McMahon, and Rebekkah Hilgraves). We are still very happy to be friends with the Electro-Music community, while also having grown our own community and updated our capabilities with this change.
We measure StillStream’s success as follows:
- Are we providing significant promotional value to ambient artists?
- Are we expanding the ambient music listener base in general?
- Are we creating enthusiasm amongst ambient music fans?
- Are we introducing listeners to new artists and releases that they might not otherwise hear?
- Are we giving ambient artists a much-needed venue in which to perform live for their fans?
- Are we helping to keep ambient music as a genre “on the map”?
If we can answer yes to all of these questions, then we feel we are living up to our goals. If not, well then it means we need to continue to improve our service, something we are constantly striving to do.
It is important to note that our mission does NOT include making money, making a profit, or even covering our own costs. We are intentionally and unapologetically non-commercial because this gives us the freedom to work towards our goals without any external entanglements.
The Licensing Thing
When it comes to licensing music, it is our belief that net radio stations come in just two flavours: those that play by the rules, and those that do not. StillStream plays strictly by the rules, and in fact goes to great lengths to ensure we are doing so. We strongly support the rights of ambient artists, including their right to choose how to market their music, and how much (if anything) to charge for their music.
But let’s be clear: StillStream does not pay royalties of any kind for airplay. Put simply, as a non-commercial station with no revenue stream, it is out of our reach cost-wise.
How, then, can we broadcast all this music legally? Simple. We just ask for the artist’s permission.
After much research and a couple of different models for documenting permission, StillStream has settled upon a simple set of rules:
- Music released under Creative Commons is automatically free for StillStream to use, owing to our non-commercial status.
- Non Creative Commons music can also be played on StillStream, but only if the artist/rights holder signs our online royalty waiver form.
We totally respect artists who choose not to grant us a royalty waiver. We believe very strongly that artists should have the choice of how to bring their music to the marketplace and to their audiences, and can understand if an artist would rather not sign such an agreement. After all, we are all artists ourselves. If you do choose to grant us a royalty waiver, however, we sincerely thank you and promise to do everything we can to make it worth your effort.
Our current admin team at StillStream that keep things rolling 24/7:
- Joel Sutton – Joel is a musician, programmer, tea addict. Joel maintains the station infrastructure and makes sure things are running smoothly day to day.
Hall of Fame
We want to acknowledge some key individuals for their continued help and dedication to the station and for making StillStream successful:
- Joe McMahon – Archivist, Systems Administrator. Joe McMahon is a musician, programmer, and talented developer. Joe managed the repository, new submissions, and artist waivers, as well as creating and maintaining the StillStream iPhone mobile app.
- Rebekkah Hilgraves – Web Admin, Chat Admin, Archivist. Rebekkah Hilgraves is a singer, poet, marketing consultant, and host of At Water’s Edge on StillStream. Rebekkah helped manage the music library, new submissions and the StillStream Web site.
- Ian Clay – for the original inspiration.
- Darrell Burgan – the original owner and founder of StillStream.
- John Tocher – John was instrumental in setting up and running our previous IRC chat room, and helping us with the chat integration with Mibbit. John also hosts Sadayatana and Grove of Whispers, so he is very active in and a big part of StillStream both from an operations standpoint and from a music standpoint.
- Mike Metlay – host of Spiral, for originally donating a computer to StillStream to aid in live streaming (thanks so much) as well as opening up Different Skies to the StillStream audience.
- Scott Ruof – a dedicated StillStream listener who has scouted a ton of new music for the StillStream library, and has provided much support to the station in other ways, as well.
- Shane Morris – Shane Morris is a musician, co-owner of Ethereal Live net label, and is a past archivist at StillStream scouting, maintaining, and processing material for Wally as well as various admin duties.
- Howard Moscovitz – Former Owner / Station Manager. Former Bell labs tech, musician, hacker, previous owner of StillStream and current owner of electro-music.com. Howard started electro-music in 2003 and had ownership of StillStream from 2011 to 2014.
- Jan Punter – Former SysAdmin. Jan Punter is a musician, programmer, DIY electronics guru, and also particularly gifted at making music with computers. Jan is the chief systems administrator at electro-music and was instrumental in making the transition for StillStream from Darrell’s ownership to electro-music.
We want to give these folks the props they deserve. Thank you so much for supporting StillStream and for helping us to make the ambient world a better place. It quite literally could not be done without you.
We also would like to thank all the ambient artists for so generously supporting StillStream. We sincerely hope that our efforts to support your music have been more than worth it to you.
Finally we would like to thank our listeners. Without you, there would be no point.