In last week's Part One of this series, we looked at the phenomenon that rocked the music industry: Napster and illegal downloads, and today's music portability in an iPod world. Today, in Part Two, we examine the growth and volatile future of Internet radio.

An old Billy Joel song, recorded in 1976, reminisced about the days when "you never heard the words of your favorite song through a three-inch speaker."

I used to listen to my CDs through massive floor speakers in woodgrain cabinets with 12-inch woofers. They've been replaced by tiny surround-sound speakers now, but another interesting thing has happened. I probably hear just as much music through my iPod earbuds and my computer speakers as I do on my home stereo system. A day at work is often accompanied by hours of uninterrupted music, not from a set of CDs, and not from a local radio station, but from the unique hybrid of Internet radio.

The digital music that was born with the CD, and grew into illegal and then legal downloads, also means streaming audio. Streaming audio means radio stations are not limited to the geographical reach of a broadcast tower. Most over-the-air stations have a "Listen Online" option, allowing listeners to find a musical genre that's not locally available or stay connected with hometown happenings.

'Closer to Home'

While stationed in Iraq, Major Lowell McKinster used a satellite Internet connection to find the online broadcast of his hometown station, 104.7 The Fish Atlanta. "Being on the other side of the earth, I felt closer to home and it kept me going on those tough days when not so good things happen," recalls McKinster. "My experience in Iraq was very positive and having the ability to listen to my favorite radio station made it even ...

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