In 2016, Luke Pritchard and Jonny Laxton started up a streaming music channel on youtube. They discovered a youtube channel that could live stream low fidelity music. Another channel which was start about a year prior to Luke’s and Jonny’s channel was called College Music. In April 2015, the channel had 794 subscribers. After a month their subscribership grew to 18,440 and in April 2016 it grew to 98,110.
These channels are run in a way reminiscent of the unlicensed pirate radio stations. They operated somewhat under the radar as they work their way through youtube’s copyright policy. But many of these channels have received strikes for copyright violations so they are working out agreements directly with the artists. Bas, runs a channel called Chillhop Music, says “The artists don’t get angry with us cause we know them and a lot of the music is from our label. They rightfully get angry at some other channels though as a lot of people are just capitalizing on the artists”.
Youtube actively disciplines stations that stray outside of the policies. Streams are frequently penalized and shut down.