Distortion Radio is a next-generation music and internet radio platform targeted at today's younger generation. Streaming high-quality music from both established and rising artists to thousands of dedicated music fans worldwide every day, it is a central location for all of the music that matters in one single place, from alternative to pop to metal. A new approach to music discovery, Distortion is available on a wide range of devices for listening on nearly every supported platform. With a free account, users can earn points, request songs, upload photos and music, and much more. Through innovative social features, listeners, artists, and promoters can connect with the music, fans, and people most relevant to them. Distortion has become one of the fastest-growing online radio networks and communities in its target demographic and will continue to provide an experience that is innovative and dedicated to the interests of its audience.
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Years before the station launched, the team behind Distortion Radio was working hard to create something different and exciting in the industry. With the continual demise of alternative rock on terrestrial stations throughout the United States, it was only logical to develop something new to satisfy an audience that had been increasingly underserved by corporate radio. Inspired by the growth of internet radio and the demand for alternative music within online communities around the world, the team set out to build a platform that would ideally make radio the way it should be: creative, engaging, and entertaining. Several years of research and development paved the way for what would be deemed "The Alternative Revolution."
Officially launched on November 1, 2007 as "The New Sound of Alternative," Distortion Radio began broadcasting on the internet with a diverse playlist ranging from modern pop punk to 80s alternative. The eclectic format featured an intelligent mix spanning over three decades of alternative music. Immediately after launch, Distortion Radio started reaching out to unsigned and independent artists looking for airplay. After an overwhelming response, many independent artists soon appeared on the playlist in regular rotation. Producing a distinctly different kind of playlist, the format featured mainstream and independent artists alongside each other, with singles and album cuts in a variety of genres spanning alternative, rock, punk, indie, new wave, post-hardcore, metal, progressive, industrial, and electronic. Distortion Radio was born.
Shows began appearing on the station's lineup merely a few months after launch. The first program introduced was The Black Hole, debuting on January 2, 2008 with a taste of metal, hardcore, post-hardcore, and screamo. In February, the Distortion Radio website began its first major makeover in an effort to better align with the station as "The Best of the Underground Scene." Sunday nights soon saw the addition of Scene Xposed, a show focusing entirely on unsigned and independent artists. Between 2008 and 2009, several additional upgrades were made to the website, adding more social features that allowed listeners to interact with the station and with each other more effectively. During the summer and fall of 2009, several live chat sessions with artists took place online, including Your Favorite Enemies, Defused, and Dropout Year. On September 23, 2009, Underground Edge w/Jon Bova, a new, highly interactive show premiered on Distortion Radio. It quickly became a listener favorite with many pouring into the chat room each week during the show. Streaming video feeds were also broadcast live on Stickam and Ustream during the show, giving fans a chance to take part in special contests and experience behind-the-scenes studio antics with host Jon Bova. Towards the end of 2009, Distortion Radio was branded "24/7 Extreme Alternative! Rock, Punk, Emo & Metal" to more accurately reflect the format at the time.
In 2010, Distortion Radio staff made appearances at several concert events for the first time. Among these were Warped Tour 2010, where several artists gave interviews or shout-outs, including Dropout Year, Fight Fair, and Closure In Moscow. A local show also took place, which provided an opportunity for photos and shout-outs from The Hint and American Diary. In order to fully accommodate Distortion Radio's goal of bringing quality music to the masses, it became apparent during the year that big changes were needed. As a result, plans were soon underway to begin a major overhaul of the existing infrastructure. On November 3, 2010, after three years of operation, the station known as Distortion Radio was divided into three separate channels: the original alternative format became known as Absolute Alternative, while two brand new channels, A-1 Hits and Aggression, were launched, creating an enormous amount of diversity. In May of 2011, an entirely new website was introduced, serving as an interactive gateway to each of the channels. With live chat rooms, playlists, news, song request capabilities, and sharing on social networks like Facebook and Twitter, the new site offered listeners a fun and exciting new way to experience the music. Later in 2011, streaming on mobile platforms was made possible without the need for native applications, allowing listeners to stream stations on Distortion Radio directly from the site in mobile browsers like those found in iPhone, iPad, and Android, as well as many other tablets and devices. In September, a premium account service called Distortion Plus was made available to listeners who prefer an ad-free, HD-quality listening experience. Several announcements were made over the course of the year indicating that a platform dedicated exclusively to new and independent music was in development and set to launch in early 2012.
On May 1, 2012, another chapter began with the emergence of an all-new way for independent music to be discovered. A platform dedicated specifically to new, unsigned, and independent artists was launched on Distortion Radio. Representing alternative music, Indiescene was introduced as the first station on the platform known as iDR. Over time, additional stations and enhanced features like customization will be introduced.