Vlogs and podcasts are gaining momentum, just as blogs were in the past. Businesses and freelancers in all industries can use some form of this to communicate with their audiences. With each medium becoming more and more popular, a service like Spreaker gives users the chance to create their own radio station (or podcast) quickly and easily — and for free. Here’s a look into how well Spreaker works and what it is capable of.
I like Spreaker’s interface. The color scheme is not complicated: a black header and footer, with grey, white, and some green accents. There are orange accents that highlight where you need to pay attention to, and my eye naturally gets drawn to this bright and louder color. I approve.
It’s pretty easy for a new user to navigate around Spreaker. Spreaker has implemented the profile percentage that I first noticed with LinkedIn, where new users do certain things (i.e. fill out their profile, connect with Facebook, etc…) to reach 100% completion. It’s a great way to guide new users through the process and it’s very simple.
Radio shows are categorized in nine different categories, which allows for easy browsing. One quirky thing: in the Popular tab, the shows are sorted seemingly randomly (i.e. the first result had 46 listens, but the second had 64 and the third had 17).
While browsing some people’s shows, I heard quite a long intro music segment that I wasn’t too great a fan of. I wanted to hear what the show was about though, which meant I had to bear through the music. I would like for these segments to be skippable, and I think that a navigation bar or a fast forward button can solve this problem. Then again, the issue is with skippability that some listeners won’t be tuning in live, and thus might miss the chance to interact more closely with the radio DJs.
It took almost twenty minutes to go through uploading two files. I was a bit surprised: at 7mb and 20mb, I didn’t expect that uploading and going through processing would take that long. I find that most as a user, I wanted to get started working on my music now. This is the advantage of using offline DJ software, as it allowed for quicker access to your music files and easier swapping too. For example, if I didn’t like the combination of the two songs, then I’d have to re-upload another file, which could take another ten minutes with Spreaker. In comparison, VirtualDJ takes a couple of seconds to analyze the song and it’s ready to go. So just as a heads up, DJs please do not hope to use Spreaker to replace VirtualDJ.
After the files are uploaded though, it’s quite a simple matter of finding them in your library and adding them to your playlist, then dragging them to your decks.
Spreaker’s features include recording your own voice, throwing in sound effects, and playing two files at the same time while adjusting volume. These features are pretty useful for recording radio shows, which is what Spreaker is aiming to do. These functions are enough to justify using Spreaker for a quick podcast you want to make and do some mild editing and tweaking afterwards.
You can also choose to broadcast live from your console, which is a pretty cool feature. I love the inclusion of the On Air button, it’s little details like it that make me like Spreaker. Broadcasting live is a thrilling part of Spreaker, and is probably the main reason I’d use it. The ability to interact live with listeners and getting near-instant feedback is great, and just makes everything so much more engaging and interactive. MP3s might need to be planned in advance (due to the ten minute upload), but I was listening to Nate Dogg’s Area Codes in decent quality, which is something I can’t say for other live stream services (such as Ustream and whatnot which are more focused on video).
Spreaker’s community is small at the moment. I don’t have a problem with small communities: in fact, sometimes I like them more for their intimacy and the closeness of their members. With that said, I didn’t really find much of that with Spreaker at the time. Navigating through some of their popular shows leads me to some Mexican channels (which play cool music, by the way) as well as some shows entitled My First Radio Show. Follower counts were low and there wasn’t much chat activity. That said, I expect that the situation will improve as Spreaker gains momentum though, and I’m optimistic that the community will grow closer together.
Spreaker promotes connectivity with Facebook heavily: by default, your shows will be broadcast on Facebook as a status. If you refer five members to the site, you can get a month of Premium Spreaker free. This means more airtime and storage for you!
I like Spreaker’s efforts to connect with their users via blog, where they share music advice for new users. I think it’s important to continue to help users develop their shows.
The Young Spreaker
I think that Spreaker has a lot of good qualities going for it. I think it has a decent framework for new users to start working with, and its interface is clean and aesthetically-pleasing. I also think that its features are pretty solid (in hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have expected syncing capabilities — I guess I was too optimistic), and Ilove the ability to broadcast live. As I heard with one radio station, they loved the ability to interact with their users through chat or Twitter live, which I think is a great part of Spreaker.
That said, Spreaker has a lot of room for more community members, and more interesting ways to categorize shows. Also, it’s lacking a bit in terms of audience control: I’d like to be able to fast-forward and skip certain parts of shows, and I think that little details like this can set Spreaker apart from normal radio stations (broadcast radio stations don’t allow listeners to skip their transitions either). Give Spreaker a try, it’s fun to use, shows a lot of potential, and it’s free.