SomaFM an independent (i.e. not owned by ClearChannel) webcasting radio station, operating out of the San Francisco bay area, runs numerous (about 6 currently) channels at

These include:

  • Groove Salad - "A tasty plate of ambient beats and grooves. Takes the edge off work."
  • Secret Agent - "The soundtrack for your stylish, mysterious, dangerous life. For Spies and P.I.'s too!"
  • Drone Zone - "Served best chilled, safe wth most medications. Droning atmospheric textures with minimal beats."
  • indiepop rocks - "New and classic indie tracks."
  • cliqhop idm - "Blips'n'beeps backed mostly w/beats."
  • Beat Blender - "A late night blend of deep-house, downtempo and fuzed jazz."

They also currently are running Boot Liquor, for country-style tunes.

You can listen to the music in Winamp, XMMS, iTunes, etc. They provide nice little links to the websites to get said music programs at their website, and serve their music with ShoutCast.

For a while, they had about 12 channels, that was, until the RIAA found them. They are now paying off their debt to the RIAA, and still need to pay them a few thousand dollars US a year for royalties.

When I found SomaFM, I was enthralled. Here, I could get lots of different styles of music to listen to, and it was stuff that I hadn't heard before (for the most part)! For about three weeks now I've been listening almost entirely to SomaFM. My favorite channels are Secret Agent and Groove Salad, but that's just my personal music tastes.

However, unfortunately, they don't have unlimited bandwith. Groups of people donate servers and bandwith for them to use, but as their website becomes more popular, they are constantly in need of bandwith because more people are listening. This is a good thing, in the view that they are becoming more well-known, but it's also got the downside that now the music is rebuffering constantly at times and sometimes it's impossible to connect to the servers at all. But no fear, they are working on it and have even posted a guestbook where people can let them know when they are having connection problems.

I througholy enjoy this website. It's a beacon of hope to those of us who see crapola corporate mainstream music dominating the music scene, to see a website promoting and playing indie and non-mainstream music.

SomaFm is an online radio network which currently consists of twenty four unique channels of non-mainstream music. SomaFM was around before XM (since 2000) and is a viable alternative to that format. If you have an internet connection, you can stream SomaFM

They're based out of San Francisco and began operations in the South of Market area. Each channel focuses on a different subset of electronica and/or roots music: classic americana to downtempo to exotica to avant-garde-ish/free jazz to indie pop  to synthpop to Goa to drone/ambient to straight IDM to dubstep to drone doom to spy music to deep house to earthy ambient to spacey ambient. To qualify the last two: SomaFM has a channel that consists of different ambient tracks layered underneath a live stream of the public safety radio channel for the SFPD and one that does the same thing with historic NASA transmissions. 

There's more too: channels devoted to music made for burning man and one for South By Soutwest and a channel that's strictly covers. During the holidays there are two additional channels for "different" takes on traditional music for the winter season.

Basically, they've got every non-mainstream flavor of music covered, excepting gospel, heavy metal, hardcore punk and classical.

Currently only one channel is available as a weekly podcast. 

As SomaFM founder and DJ Rusty Hodge says, "Many of the records in my collection are now out of print and extremely hard to find, so I hope you don't get too annoyed that you can't easily find them online." Even so, there are tracklistings consistently updated online so if you want to hear something again, it can be done. Tracklistings are consistently updated on their website on the fly.

SomaFM boasts a total of 8000 CDs and 150,000 digital tracks their primary music library—which does not include the six DJs' personal libraries which will also be used from time to time. It's fairly rare to hear the same old song or artist twice in one day here.

SomaFM operates 100% from listener donations. Check it out. If you like what you hear, consider donating.

11/18/12: just found out about Digitally Imported Radio but haven't given it a listen yet. I probably won't. It's available for mobile devices apparently.

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