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Update on ICY streams for manufacturers

Lloyd Wallis

Senior Architect, Online Technology Group

This blog post is intended to ensure that we have reached all of the vendors necessary for an upcoming change to a legacy way the BBC distributes live radio online. There is no action for listeners to take at this time and we do not anticipate any impact to your service.

We’re making some changes to our ICY (sometimes referred to as “shoutcast” or “icecast”) streams, and some vendors may need to update.

We are not turning off these streams, or making any changes to the technical requirements of the devices that receive them. However, the URLs that some devices need to connect to in order to receive them will be changing as part of us moving the delivery of these streams in-house.

This also enables us to offer these streams securely over TLS, something which is increasingly requested by radio manufacturers and aggregators.

When will the changes happen?

We will be spending the rest of the calendar year setting up the new streams and aim to be ready to move devices to the new URLs in January, starting with devices that the BBC is able to directly control.

After that we will be reaching out to the organisations we know about asking them to update. Once the majority of devices are using the new system, we will add in-stream messaging on the old streams warning of the move in early to mid-March if there is still significant legitimate usage on the old platform.

The old URLs will then stop working completely by 31st March 2021.

What do I need to do?

If you use an Internet Radio to listen to BBC Radio as it is being broadcast, there is no action required and we are confident at this time that your service will continue uninterrupted.

If you are a device manufacturer, station aggregator or other vendor that offers access to our live streams using the ICY protocol, this depends on how your system is configured. By looking at the playback URLs that you connect to you will be able to confirm if any action is required.

Systems that use our Media Selector APIs on the domain 'open.live.bbc.co.uk', we will be updating these APIs and so no action is required by you.

If you directly use URLs from either of the following hostnames:

1. bbcmedia.ic.llnwd.net
2. bbcwssc.ic.llnwd.net

Then you will need to update to prevent impact to your customers as these endpoints will not work after March 2021.

Many vendors should have already heard from our Distribution team about this change. If you have not and need more information on this change, businesses can get in touch by emailing icy-changes@bbc.co.uk.

Going forward, the BBC considers its use of the ICY protocol deprecated and will keep it operating as long as legitimate usage levels remain high enough to justify doing so. We will continue to track usage and review our strategy regularly.

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