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SomaFM Free: Everything you need to know (Updated 2022)

SomaFM is an internet-only radio streaming network which provides its users access to handpicked channels and underground music which they would otherwise not be able to hear. The service does not display any ads nor does it request donations from its users; however, it relies on financial support from visitors to keep the channel running.

SomaFM

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Nicole Sommer - Soccer expert Last updated: Thursday, 07.July 2022 — 3min read

somafm.com

The rise of music streaming services has been taken into account by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). This shows that the music industry as a whole has transformed and transcended the traditional boundaries. Music services including radio coverage and podcasts have taken the center stage in this paradigm shift. For instance, Kanye's album, The Life of Pablo, became the first album to receive platinum-based online plays as opposed to physical sales. These days, the success of an artist/band is judged by the number of plays they are getting on streaming platforms. The reason I am mentioning the rise of streaming platforms is that it comes at a cost. When it comes to the music industry, small and independent services are absorbed by rival companies. For instance, Rdio was acquired by Pandora and AOL ran out of business. Major music networks similar to the TV networks absorb the smaller ones and thus there is a constant shakeout every quarter. One particular independent streaming network with steady popularity that stands out as a powerful presence in the radio streaming industry is SomaFM.

What is SomaFM?

Rusty Hodge, founder of SomaFM, launched an internet-only radio streaming network in 1999 from a basement garage in San Francisco. The initial success of the channel meant that he could launch a full-time radio station within a year. In the last two decades, SomaFM has become a perfect pleasure music drug for listeners around the world.

Why is SomaFM different from other radio streaming networks?

Most of the radio streaming networks offer free or paid streaming music tiers. So, either you pay a subscription fee or you listen for free with ads bombardments throughout the website. If you are a casual listener, you don't get access to premium features such as song-skipping and must watch pre-roll ads. Thus, streaming on those radio sites makes sense only if you are a listener. With SomaFM, you have access to all the premium features, without having to pay for a subscription. You can skip as many songs as you want, and you can also enjoy on-demand playback and explore the depths of each section of the website.

History

In 2002, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) became a law and this changed everything for internet broadcasters. At this time, they were required to pay a per-song per listener royalty. This was a dark patch in SomaFM's history as the channel allegedly had to pay over $1,000 USD per day if it wanted to continue its operation. However, later that year, royalties were reduced by half and still it was difficult for Soma to maintain its operation as the expenditure would exceed revenue. In 2002, SomaFM ceased broadcasting and, as a result, Hodge had to appear before US Congress in a bid to reduce the royalty rate. Finally, things worked out as Congress passed the Small Webcaster Settlement Act (SWSA) which enabled small broadcasters to pay lower rates. Thus, after three months of hiatus, SomaFM was back on the air.

After through a troublesome period, SomaFM found its footing and kept improving year after year. In 2005, it partnered with Orban. In 2007 it was an active part of “Internet Radio Day of Silence” in protest against Copyright Royalty Board’s decision to raise royalty fees. In 2013, it partnered with ?Aha? by Harman International which was a breakthrough collaboration as it allowed SomaFM to make their content available via “Aha? apps.” In 2014 SomaFM partnered with Qualcomm to include “Allplay? - AllJoyn open-source software for wireless speakers in their mobile apps.”

Why should you stream SomaFM?

You can stream SomaFM for free. There are no discrepancies as there are no display ads or intrusive pre-roll ads. You can browse the website without fearing mistimed clicks or intrusive ads.

Amazing Community

Since SomaFM is run by the community, there is no doubt that it has an amazing community. You can actually join the guest book by adding your email address, name, and your message. As soon as you add an entry, your message will be displayed to fellow users. If you like what you hear and want the platform to grow, you can even donate custom amounts using the donation column on the right.

Original content with handpicked channels

Unlike other directories that boast over 30,000+ radio channels, SomaFM features only 30 channels and offers its unique content for free. It is an independent network with original channels where music is handpicked by the top DJs and music producers. With SomaFM it is more about finding quality content than simply counting how many stations are available. This approach leaves you with a sense of clarity and certainty about what you are listening to, something that many other networks can often lack.

Well-curated Playlists

I have seen hundreds of radio music streaming networks, but none had a playlist as satisfying as SomaFM. These playlists are updated in real-time, featuring top artists, tracks, and newly added songs by the members of the platform. For instance, you'll find unique playlists such as "Americana Roots music for Cowhands, Cowpokes and Cowtippers?", "Blips ?n? beeps backed mostly with beats by clip hop IDM?", "Deep ambient electronic, experimental and space music?" by Deep Space One, and "Music for Hacking?" by DEF CON Radio. These are just a few of the many custom playlists available on SomaFM.

Design

Everything until now must have felt like a paid review, but here comes the reality check. SomaFM as a website feels as though it hasn't been updated since 1999. Given the independence and the significance of this radio network, its visual appeal in 2020 is a total let down. The use of fonts, text color and overall graphics sets you twenty years backward. If you're a new user, you'll think of this website as a scam landing page and would bounce off immediately.

Header

The header section on SomaFM has a predominant logo on the left and different texts listed in the center. These include - listen, news, support/donate, store, playlists, mobile, podcasts, features, mailing list, guest book, about and contact. Almost everything you would want in a drop-down menu or well-arranged section is cluttered within a small space.

Hero Section

After a disappointing header, it's time you moved on to an even more horrible hero section. It's divided into two sections. The left section which covers ¾ of the page - has a Donation CTA in green followed by supporting texts and album arts. On the right, there's a donation column along with live stats. At the time of reviewing this website- there were 10090 active people on the website. As for the donation, you can choose between $20 to $365 and can even add a custom donation amount.

Body

The body section of SomaFM is filled with art and details. There are four-channel art in one row and as you keep scrolling, you'll find up to 10 such rows. As you scroll down, you'll find a small news section on the right which you would probably overlook because donations dominate that column.

Inner pages

Despite their promise of offering insights, the inner pages of the channel's website are disappointingly designed. There is a channel name on the top, a short description, Listen now button, Channel information, active listeners data, and donation callout. On the left, there are five options - Tune In, About Your DJ, Song History, Artists and Direct Stream Links.

Footer

The footer is cluttered and lacks important information. There is not much to take away from it either.

Content

SomaFM is a network that is run by listeners. There is no directory nor sponsored content. It has 30 unique channels that allow the service to broadcast commercial-free, underground radio to the world. Each of these channels has a dedicated award-winning DJ who handpicks the music for these stations.

Desktop/Mobile experience

When you click on a particular station, it opens up in a small window and starts playing a track. The name of the station, the music director, the time, the artist, along with all of the song details are available. You can also buy or star mark songs. The bottom of the window has five options - All Stations, Favorite Station, Favorite Songs, Community and Now Playing. I checked the website on a 1920 by 1080 resolution and it seemed alright. Even the mobile version seemed responsive and didn't have any issue when I was browsing around the website and playing music.

The playback was very smooth with no discrepancies. The quality of audio was great and the sound selection was unique as well.

Plans & Pricing

SomaFM is a music streaming service provided for free of charge. However, if you would like to support the channel, you can contribute financially.

Suggestions I have for SomaFM

I would love the developers to work on the graphics of the website. It feels outdated and moreover, I would advise them to reduce the number of donation CTAs because it comes off as spam-like. Finally, it would be great if they could add more exclusive channels on the network.

Conclusion

SomaFM is a great streaming platform if you want to enjoy some exclusive tunes that are not typically heard on mainstream networks. The graphics and the layout of the website are not the best, but the audio quality is something I would vouch for.

Fastest livescore
  • ✓ Fastest goal alarm
  • ✓ Most leagues
  • ✓ Fast scorers info
  • ✓ Quota integration
Other Websites + SomaFM
  • — No livescore
  • — Long delay to the goal alarm
  • — No player info
  • — No odds
Best soccer videos
  • ✓ Instant goal stories
  • ✓ International transfers
  • ✓ Summary videos
  • ✓ All livestreams at a glance
Other Websites + SomaFM
  • — No goal videos
  • — Local TV channels only
  • — No summaries
  • — Often illegal streams
Compact stats
  • ✓ All constellations
  • ✓ Real time game statistics
  • ✓ Live tables
  • ✓ Football predictions
Other Websites + SomaFM
  • — No exhibitions
  • — No player infos
  • — Obsolete tables
  • — Not suitable for betting

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SomaFM

SomaFM Free: Everything you need to know (Updated 2022).

SomaFM is an internet-only radio streaming network which provides its users access to handpicked channels and underground music which they would otherwise not be able to hear. The service does not display any ads nor does it request donations from its users; however, it relies on financial support from visitors to keep the channel running.

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