How about this for an idea? Find as many Internet radio stations playing music as possible and monitor the music they play. Match the tracks with those on a wish-list and rip them to build up a personalised MP3 library. This is what RadioTracker 2 Platinum does. The German program claims to access over 14,000 stations and can download at up to 320Kb/s, though very few stations transmit at this sampling rate.
Start the program and select a music genre – there’s a wide selection, though non-American folk is a notable absentee – and it’ll start ripping tracks to MP3 on your hard drive almost immediately. You can quickly fill 100MB, the default space allocated by the program, unless you home in on what you want.
The quickest way to do this is to construct your own wish-list. Like all areas of the program, it’s easy to search for a particular artist and the program then shows the most commonly played tracks, which you can click on to add to your list. You can add unlisted tracks manually, too.
Since the number of stations that can be monitored by a single copy of Radiotracker 2 Platinum is limited, the program works like a distributed music database. All instances of the program on-line at any time broadcast when a particular track is starting, so any others with it on their wish-lists can rip it at the same time. Even so, it can be a while before you hit anything even slightly obscure on your wish-list.
What the program is good at is mainstream music, current or from the classic years of rock and pop. You can play them immediately and Radiotracker will call up album covers and lyrics if it can find them – again the better known tracks give the best results.
The recordings are generally of good quality with only the occasional glitch, as long as you have a reliable broadband link. The software adds fades at the start and end of tracks, to cover for stations which cross-fade tracks. The Platinum version of the program also enables you to select a portion of any track and download it to selected phones as a ringtone, which is a handy extra.
So, is it legal? Look at it this way. Listening to radio, including Internet radio, is legal. Recording programs to time-shift them is also generally looked on as legitimate and on-demand services are just getting going.
Recording individual tracks to listen to over and over on demand is an extension of this, though it may sit in a grey area. There’s a warning in the box to use Radiotracker only for personal listening and even the most rabid music publisher is unlikely to take individuals to court for recording radio output.
Company: Rapid Solutions
Contact: 0800 289041