To stream or to download

How to: an online guide to streaming

By Laura E Cox

There are two main ways to listen to audio online: by streaming (listening to the item where it is hosted including podcasts and live broadcast) and downloading (storing the files on your computer memory space) and each comes with pros and cons.

Other sites such as Kazaar and Limewire were created to provide desktop items available to download, enabling users to contribute to peer-to-peer audio sharing. These sites have been criticised in the past for the transfer of viruses, and there are ethical issues involving the sharing of both audio and video. Thus, when going to the Limewire site, the user is greeted by the following message:

Legal Notice

This is an official notice that LimeWire is under a court-ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software. Downloading or sharing copyrighted content without authorization is illegal.

When it comes to offering content from your own website, there are plenty of places to access streaming technology, including this one which comes with a ‘how-to’ step by step guide to streaming music from your website.

Doing a quick search, sites do exist from which it is still possible to download the sharing technology, enabling streaming, including BearShare, Download3000 and ShareWare.

On the BBC , there are five ways to listen to radio broadcasts:

It is not possible to download radio broadcasts, due to ‘rights reasons’. 

In the help section of the website, it says:

‘Certain content, including full-length music tracks, can only be offered with digital rights management protection (DRM), and we don’t yet have permission from the BBC Trust to offer radio content with DRM.

‘However, you can still listen to almost all radio programmes on BBC iPlayer as audio streams, which can be played up to seven days after the programme’s original broadcast.’

Internet Radio is acknowledged by Rupert Brun, head of technology for BBC audio and music, as increasing in popularity, thanks to sites such as YouTube and

Oliver Stallwood wrote in today’s Metro that internet radio is ‘on a roll’, and asks ‘what about DAB, which was meant to be the saviour of radio broadcasting?’

What do you think? Is the internet taking over?


About Laura

Small fish in a big pond, trying to accept life on life's terms 'You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore' - Christopher Columbus
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