On 24 March, The Recording Industry Performance Singapore (RIPS) – the go-to organisation for music broadcasting licenses – decided to up the ante and demand extra fees from local radio stations that want to play music online. In case you’re wondering why those affected don’t just switch on their stereos, people working in ‘busy’ signal zones like Lucky Plaza don’t get clear (or any) reception. Remittance company owner Lilian Kng prefers tuning in using the internet: ‘With all the electronics in the building, there’s so much interference, no radio signal can come through,’ she says.
But with the internet being the all-knowing, far-reaching tool that it is, connected Singaporeans will still be able to tune in to quality radio stations all over the world. RIPS’ decision will only serve to damage the reach and reputation of local media outlets. In true TOS spirit, we’re here to give you options…for F-R-E-E.
Blip.fm (Blip.fm website) This ambitious little start-up community is Twitter-compatible and allows users to ‘blip’ (tweet or promote) their favourite songs, which form a streaming playlist serving as a ‘radio station’ for your adoring fans. Similar to UK-based last.fm.
For old-school radio lovers
BBC Radio 1 (UK; BBC website) Tune into Brit cultural icons Annie Mac and Nick Grimshaw, dubstep champion Mary Anne Hobbs, club legends Pete Tong and Judge Jules and the world-famous Radio 1 Essential Mix, which has seen everyone from Portishead to Jesse Rose hit the decks.
BIRN (Boston; BIRN website) This vibrant freeform station has its home at the prestigious Berklee College of Music. Like WERS, this is a student- and faculty-run operation where all the DJs are musicians and everyone knows what they’re talking about.
Triple J (Australia; Triple J website) A government-funded public platform for Australia’s diverse music scene, featuring great live mixes and guests with a focus on rock and indie pop.
WERS (Boston; WERS website) Emerson College radio station has one of the most eclectic rosters on the States’ university freeform radio network. For avant-garde experimental enthusiasts, drum ’n’ bass fans, and free (jazz) spirits.
WFMU (New Jersey/New York; WFMU website) One of the finest freeform radio stations you can get online – DJs have total control over what goes to air. Has a star-studded fanbase, including Matt Groening and Lou Reed.
Xfm (UK; Xfm website) Young upstarts Ricky Gervais, Karl Pilkington and Stephen Merchant cut their teeth at this commercial UK station, along with Russell Brand and Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead). Get your daily dose of indie along with loads of clever chat.
Similar reads: Jonathan Evans’ feature on live music in Singapore