Farewell, LAUNCHcast

In April of 1999, I left Microsoft, 1 year and 1 day from when I joined. I had the bug to create something new with online radio. Todd Beaupre and I were shoved in a conference room in Santa Monica. Six months later, we introduced the world to LAUNCHcast, the customized and social online radio service.

I learned a hell of a lot from my years at LAUNCH and I never worked harder. LAUNCHcast built up quite a following, especially after we were bought by Yahoo!.

From literally day one of the service, the music industry tried to kill LAUNCHcast. I went to court to defend it. Well, they finally won by raising the rates services like LAUNCHcast pay to play music to an amount that makes no financial sense. Every online radio site will now lose money. As a result, Yahoo!, decided to get out of online radio, instead sending users off to CBS Radio. There will no longer be any customized radio.

Nice job, music industry. Instead of collecting money from these services, you’ve shut down any chance of revenue. Nobody buys CDs anymore and Apple is in control of all your music distribution. Way to go.

Farewell, LAUNCHcast. You introduced me to so much music and many friends along the way.


  1. I rember finding Launchcast.com well befor ethe Yahoo buy out. I remember spending hours rating all the artisits i could find and think of; it was great. Im sorry to see it go, truth be told i wasnt to happy when yahoo got em. Just the same it was a great idea and a great product.

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  3. I have bought many CD’s because of listening Launchcast back before I moved to rural America and could no longer get a connected (wireless only and limited data transfer) to a direct connection Internet. But you are right. I no longer listen to CD’s. They have been boxed up and stored in the attic for over ten years.

  4. I still miss LAUNCHCast very much. It is so unfortunate that greed has killed the online streaming experience. Perhaps one day it may be possible for LAUNCHCast to reemerge. (I still have my downloaded ratings thanks to the software that you folks made available.)


  5. I really enjoyed the Launchcast service and was sorry to see it shut down.
    Is there any way to recover the song list from the stations we created?
    Or any way to just get a list of the songs that were played on the Chill Out station??

  6. I actually started listening to LAUNCHcast through Yahoo! Messenger back in 2006. I loved it and would come home every day and listen to my own, customized station. My sister and I would make webcam videos with the music in the background. Once they paired up with CBS, I honestly stopped listening because they took away the things I liked most: the personalized station and the freedom to just skip through all those songs. Unfortunately, that seems to be what happens when companies give something good to someone with more power: the consumers suffer. But thank you for creating a something that I look back on often. It’s one of the many reasons I loved growing up in the whole “instant-messenger” era.

  7. I’m actually listening to Spotify right now and was reminded how much I loved LCast and still miss it, years later. When they cancelled LCast, I tried Pandora and could never get it to program like I wanted and I’d always exceeded the skips. I finally tried Slacker and it was super easy to add music and good discovery and I’ve been a paid subscriber for at least 5 years. And the last year or so I’ve played around with Spotify which is as easy to pick music as LCast was. I’ve tried other online internet streaming but they just don’t have the variety of music I like.

    Thank you Jeff for LCast – I used to listen it to it via an old XP computer and dial-up – and it was an interesting challenge but always worth it.

  8. I discovered so many new bands because of LAUNCHcast
    I remember disconnecting my cable connection when I joined university because I could only afford either cable or internet and decided to go with internet and so I lost all ways of discovering new music (the radio stations in Thailand was going through a phase where they only play Thai songs or K-Pop/J-Pop)
    I found bands like Breaking Benjamin, Adema, Hoobastank, Lost Prophets and many more which I still occasionally listen to, all thanks to the amazing service that was bundled with Yahoo Messenger

  9. i never comment on the web but i actually have to on this launchcast was like a close friend to me who always new what i liked and yah i probably would have paid for it. greedy music industry again.

  10. 2017 and STILL no replacement for LAUNCHcast. Slacker comes close, but NO Internet radio has bridged the gap between what I want to listen to vs what I might want to listen to. Still remember questioning Hot Hot Heat, Sahara Hotnights as recommendations. Can’t imagine not living life without either on my top 1000 playlist.

  11. YOU are the guy that turned me on to so much music I can’t even begin to tell you.

    LaunchCast has always been the gold standard by which I judge all other online stations, and none of them have ever come close. You played music we wanted to hear, and that we may never, ever have heard elsewhere.

    Thank you for opening my ears. Please do your best to start a new music service along the same lines.

  12. One of the things I would do if I were to win the lottery, would be to take up this worthy cause because of my passion for good music and making it possible to live life fully with that music. LaunchCast is missed dearly and I wish I had backed up the ratings I had in a timely manner. God bless and may you find endeavors that are just as–or more so–compelling.

  13. Hi Jeff,

    I loved LAUNCHcast radio, and miss it so much!

    I am wondering is it possible to try and sell the software or concept to google so they can use it to improve music recommendations on youtube music?

    Youtube really needs better recommendations and LAUNCHcast type recommendations were the best I ever experienced, and would definable make youtube mix playlists and music suggestions better!

  14. I wish I could compare LaunchCast to the music services of today.

    Not since LaunchCast have I seen anything like that magical slider that allowed me to
    It was so great for dialing into new music in unexplored territory, and then when you need to focus and just want to hear the same ol’, dial it back.

    I don’t want to hate on anybody else’s new ideas for music, but I’ve sailed the rough seas from LaunchCast to Yahoo! Music to Amazon Unlimited to Spotify to Apple Music to Pandora: I’ve tried everything I could find but never come close to the experience I had with LaunchCast.

    Thanks Todd Beaupré and Jeff Boulter (I see from wikipedia that you launched the original) for at least showing what’s possible. And setting a standard that hasn’t been reached yet by anybody else.

    • So crazy, three days after your comment (13 years after this post) I’m also pining for the old LaunchCast and wishing I had my old “playlist” back. I’m sure one day there will be another service for eclectic music lovers but RIP LaunchCast for being the best so far (not including startups that I haven’t heard of).

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