When I found Radiooooo.com through Monocle, (a publication we at IPMM admire a lot) I instantly pulled up the URL on my phone. I saw an interactive map that allowed me to click on a specific country & call up music from the last 100 years. This convergence of music & history made me giddy. Being able to trace influences, sounds, and philosophies through world music is always a blast, and Radiooooo.com has made it easier & more fun than ever before.
Since the world has moved to streaming music services, we’ve seen Spotify rise to poll position in the market, with a few other services, now most notably, Apple Music, throwing their hat in the ring. The years of downloading tracks & albums ad nauseam are over, with streaming subscription services seemingly winning out.
Radiooooo.com is only in BETA right now, but they’ve embraced the trend in the industry while creating something inherently interactive, exploratory, & creative. The act of engaging with the site is a creative act in itself! During my first hour on the site, I had traveled across the globe & listened to music from at least 8 genres, places, and decades.
Whether you love history, culture, or discovering music through tunes you never could have found before, Radiooooo is your new audio playground. Turkish downbeat tracks from the 80’s, Moroccan dance music from the 90’s, or Japanese folk music from the 1950’s, it’s all at your fingertips on Radiooooo.
Ahead, we talk to Benjamin Moreau who heads up the team of DJ’s that dreamt up this incredible web radio platform. Read on as we uncover the genesis of the idea, how they view their role as curators, and what the plan is for bringing this amazing cultural tool to the masses.
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We’re so glad to catch up with you guys. As curators of audio and visual art, we really admire what you’re doing with Radiooooo.com. Tell us, how did the idea come about?
Hello! Thanks for your interest! We’re so glad you like it!
The idea came up because with my friends (Noemi Ferst, Alexandre Grynszpan, Karl Planck and Victor Kiswell), as DJ’s, we had been collecting and searching for music for over a decade and we knew how difficult it was to find hidden gems from all around the world. You have to know where to look and you need time to look, & we wanted to create a simple way to share our treasures with everybody. We want to enable and encourage anyone to, in turn, share their own musical knowledge and join us in our quest!
We wanted to create something special, something for everyone, whether you’re 7 or 77 years old; an intergenerational (musical) platform to make the world smile. Whether you’re listening to a song you know and haven’t heard since you were a kid, or discovering new musical horizons never heard before, Radiooooo has been created for our fellow mankind!
I love it. Can you explain to our readers exactly how the site works?
Pick a decade, pick a country and get carried away by a beautiful musical collection.
You can also pick a mood (slow if you smoke a blunt at home, fast if your friends want to dance, weird if you want to explore a more strange part of the world.)
Our collection begins in the 1900s with the very first recordings, and decade by decade, you can work your way up to today.
The project is in constant evolution because songs are added every minute.
We heard about you guys through Monocle (a fantastic publication out of the UK), and were immediately impressed by the concept. Do you guys think of yourselves as curators or historians?
Both! Actually we consider ourselves more like explorers, hunting for buried treasures… but the curation is the key to our project. Today, there is so much music out there, the quality is often lost in the sea of quantity. That fact that we are actual human beings selecting the music, to us, gives the site a real human feel. It’s completely subjective, but it represents what we think to be the cream of the crop.
We want Radiooooo to be like a friend, who knows what’s best, who will take you by the hand on a musical journey.
Who all is involved in the project? What are the different roles? What are the different areas of expertise of the people on the team?
We have a fabulous team of friends, some are Musical Directors (for moderating music we receive everyday, uploading new tracks in undiscovered territories, etc..)
Some are Art Directors (Noemi Ferst and myself) who have created the imagery that represents the wonderfully weird world of Radiooooo, as we want to make Radioooooo.com a visual experience too. Anne Claire Troubat makez the deals for rights for music usage, but (we’re) a really horizontal experience, everyone helps the whole team.
Small teams have to pull together, we know all about that! And you’re based in France, correct? Do you work with folks in any of the countries featured?
Sure, we have friends all around the world, and new ones everyday, we even have our friends parents and grand parents who have become a part of the community.
You’re in a BETA phase right now, what are some of the things you’ve learned since launching? I’m sure there are hurdles you foresaw but also new things to work around once the site was live.
We’ve had our fare share of hurdles in beta, but thanks to our wonder-geeks who built the site, there has never been anything too serious. The funniest incident is a week after we launched our beta, the site crashed because there were to many people on it and we weren’t expecting such a large audience so quickly! There are worse things in life than being victims of your own success. 😉
As soon as I heard about Radiooooo.com, I thought of it as a catalogue of the history of music worldwide. That’s quite an undertaking. How do you curate the music, access rights to it, and implement it as part of the site?
It’s an incredible undertaking indeed! We haven’t slept in two years!
We’re a different kind of musical archive. It is not our goal to have everything that was ever made. We want only what we consider to be the very best!
The criteria of selection is that each song could technically be the first song anyone hears upon arrival on Radiooooo.com, so each song has to leave you thinking, wow!
We’ve tried to create a balance between songs you know and love to hear, the forgotten ones that you’re glad to come across again, and the unknown tracks that you’re excited to discover.
How many different artists or albums are part of the project so far? What’s the goal for quantity of music?
We don’t want to be a kind of wikipedia of world music. The quantity does not really matter. We think about quality. Everywhere in the world you can be surprised by the quality of the music you can find.
As for the rights, being a french based web radio, we’ve signed deals with the SACEM (french rights distribution structure).
How many genres are represented thus far?
There are a LOT of different genres, even if we don’t really care about this. We wanted to avoid categories, a cocktail of everything that was going on in that place, at that time.
Every song we receive is a subjective selection made with real human ears!
Has there been any trouble accessing the rights to the music? I would assume independent artists are very much down for the cause, but could see some issues with respect to major labels and licensing.
Our dream is to pay artists as much as we can.
It is very complicated today, we have to use the rights regulation companies as SACEM in France. We made a deal for this year with them as a form of semi-interactive french based web radio.
What are some of your favorite bands, musicians, songwriters that you’ve discovered through the project?
It is really a tooooo long of a list to make… It is impossible to play favorites! We’ve found fantastic things everywhere from South Korea to Sweden!
What has surprised you most about launching this project and where do you see it in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years?
The biggest surprise to us was peoples reactions to the site! Since we’ve launched, we’ve been receiving hundreds of emails a day from people thanking us, telling us how our little dream has made their lives better, & how they are so glad we dreamt it up and just telling us how much they love it!
That has honestly been the most rewarding aspect of the project so far and we are truly moved and deeply touched by these words of love.
The other surprise is the amount of music we’ve been receiving since we launched! We’ve been getting an average of 150 songs a day since day 1 from all around the world! And it is so wonderful to see people take the time to play a part in our musical treasure hunt.
Our hope is to encourage people to share their own musical knowledge, because the real treasures are in peoples minds, and hopefully build one of the most beautiful musical communities in the world! We aim to revolutionize the way you listen to music, letting yourself go into the unknown and opening yourself up to new discoveries.
The concept is simple & generous, and we love watching it grow bigger and stronger every day! Possibilities are infinite!