'Hang the Blessed DJ'

Once in a while, an application comes along that makes you truly happy, like Napster, the Mosaic browser, and Word 6. Well, OK, maybe not Word 6. But you get the idea.

For me, that application is the new version of SoundJam MP (version 2.5.1). Why? Because it lets me fulfill my DJ fantasies. More specifically, SoundJam lets me stream the MP3s I'm listening to over the Internet.

Streaming your MP3 files across the Net is nothing new. But I've never done it before because...well, why bother?

But now it's different. Now it's not a bother. Now I'm just doing what I would be anyway, listening to MP3s. Only I'm broadcasting at the same time, playing my MP3s over the Internet just like a radio DJ plays songs over the airwaves.

When I went to update my version of SoundJam, I noticed that one of the new features in version 2.5.1 allowed me to broadcast. "What's this," I thought, "can I now inflict my barbaric taste in music upon others in a few easy steps?"

The answer: yes (much to the chagrin of those who have the misfortune to stumble across my broadcast). There's no extra software to download and no MP3s to upload. Lovely.

Once I installed the new version, I went by Live365.com and set up a free broadcasting account. Within half an hour or so from the time I downloaded the SoundJam upgrade, I was a DJ. Suddenly I'm the guy with more rock and less talk. Now I finally have a forum where I can play my extended Noam Chomsky vs. DJ Shadow remixes. And nobody can make me turn it off.

What's more, there was nothing extra to do. I sit at my desk with my headphones on listening to SoundJam most of the day anyway. The streaming process is seamless, requiring literally nothing more than the push of a button So now, in this wonderful world that we live in, not only can I listen to my field recordings of howler monkeys, but I can stream them across the Net while I'm doing so. Ain't life grand?

However, my new system is not without its drawbacks. For one, I don't have any fancy jingles. If there's one thing I've learned from listening to top 40 schmaltz lo these many years, it's that self-respecting DJs can't go ten minutes without playing a fancy jingle that announces their name. You know, as in, "today's hit music and less talk with Mathew Honan," but set to music. I'm going to have a complex until I get myself one of those fancy jingles, I'm afraid. (This is probably asking for abuse, but if any readers out there want to come up with a fancy jingle for me, I'd love to add it to my playlist.)

And there's a bigger problem as well: I'm pretty sure that nobody is listening to me. When I looked at the list of DJs on Live365.com I noticed something interesting, there were 16,335 DJs and only 4,725 listeners currently logged on. I'm guessing most of those folks weren't tuned into radio free Honan either.

Maybe if I gave free T-shirts out to the tenth caller....

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