Any interest in LibreTime available as a SaaS with hosting and support?

Continuing the discussion from LibreTime on AWS:

Inspired by another open source project, I’m curious to gauge interest an early stage beta along similar lines -

  1. Find 10 or so adventurous stations or podcasters to join the BETA
  2. Gather use cases from them to cover the critical features of all sites
  3. Build, migrate and launch each site
  4. Iterate for 12-ish months until we have something solid and generally usable
  5. Launch the first version of the SaaS “self-service plan”, ending the beta period, and moving to general availability

Throughout the beta and beyond, all of the code, documentation, and related materials for the platform will be publicly available and contributed back to LibreTime https://github.com/libretime

What if the initial beta pricing and service levels would be similar to the Premium level of Airtime Pro? Are there stations using LibreTime or Airtime that might have an interest?

I would probably try it, as long as it is more affordable. Airtime Pro gives so little storage for the dollar that it’s just out of my reach, my radio is a hobby more than anything else.

I think you could deploy an LT system, from a mostly configured, repacked Libretubuntu ISO image in minutes and it might be would be easier for low numbers. Just rent it out the vps instance. You can run LT on a $3.80/m VPS, I have done it, so it must be possible. Just find a VPS provider that allows you to upload a suitable image for deploying. Using a very simple ffmpeg 3 line bash script, you can stream radio to youtube with a ‘Postcard’ video image and that solves your bandwidth problem.

Thanks @facundoand and @JohnnyC1951for the feedback so far. I think the ideal would be multiple SaaS offerings and price points eventually. It might be to easier initially to determine just one price/service level that would make sense for enough stations to prepay for an early stage beta that would also help fund development of a stable downloadable version.

Is there any price/service level that would work for a comparable LibreTime beta?

Yeah, the challenge is the whole package can either be offered ad-hoc with minimal support or someone will need to make this their job and basically take on client-level servicing of requests. There are still quite a few missing features such as FTP based import that would make the service lacking for anyone wanting to use it out of the box. There is also a lack of quota/disk space and S3 integration because these were commented out. Right now LibreTime isn’t designed to compete with Airtime.pro and while this could be done it would take a dedicated developer to spend a month of their time working on it. The potential reward and hassle isn’t necessarily lucrative.

The goal of the beta would be to release a version of LibreTime that ‘could’ be available as SaaS. The 10 or so stations or podcasters would have early access to whatever would be developed during the beta, but funds would be allocated to develop the product.

There is already a SaaS version that is similar enough for most people willing to pay considering we forked from Airtime.pro code and they’re still offering that service(last I checked). They had full-time developers and a well-funded enough organization and they still struggled to make enough funds to cover their developer costs. At the same time it could be done but I think that putting together something like this through part-time labor and fully remotely coordinated would be challenging and not necessarily result in the intended outcome as presented in this proposal. We have been at something of an impasse recently and I personally am figuring out the next steps but even as I type my attention is being pulled away to go help my wife with our daughter so without my schedule allowing me to concentrate more fully on the project then I don’t think I can make any promises.

There is already a SaaS version that is similar enough for most people willing to pay considering we forked from Airtime.pro code and they’re still offering that service(last I checked).

Is it LibreTime or a seperate fork of Airtime.pro code?

At the same time it could be done but I think that putting together something like this through part-time labor and fully remotely coordinated would be challenging and not necessarily result in the intended outcome as presented in this proposal.

What I posted here several months ago was more of an idea inspired by an unrelated OSS project https://www.mydropwizard.com/blog/free-migration-to-drupal-8-for-nonprofits

Without going into too much detail, I think this type of model (customers fund early access to their beta - hosting is done via a partner - support is done via a partner) could be one way to keep a team focused on LibreTime Development Priorities.

No the SaaS version I was referring to was Airtime.pro itself. It is still there for anyone who has money and is interested in the functionality and basic level of technical support. The only major difference between the two products is we have an automatic playlist scheduler and they have an Auto-DJ functionality. I don’t think they’ve added a lot of new functionality aside from revamping the radio front page and adding geo-blocking. The biggest critiques I’ve heard of their service is the price and amount of storage they offer are rather limited. But like I said it would take a serious endeavor to launch a SaaS and I personally am not interested in that at this point, at least not in the typical sense of how most SaaS products are marketed.

Circling back to this as there’s a good bit of overlap with this just launched initiative - https://www.cpb.org/pressroom/nfcb-receives-cpb-grant-strengthen-service-rural-areas

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) awarded a grant of $314,106 to the National Federation of Community Broadcasters (NFCB) to work with 10 public radio stations serving rural communities as part of NFCB’s “Community Counts” initiative.

The “Community Counts” initiative is designed to help community-based stations enhance original content creation, increase audience engagement, grow revenue and expand services. With CPB’s support, NFCB will provide training, mentorship and technical assistance to help strengthen these ten stations’ organizational capacities as well as diversify their revenue streams. NFCB will also create toolkits and share best practices to help other small community broadcasters achieve long-term sustainability.

Combined with recent twitter discussions with folks from NFCB and interest from newcomers to LibreTime, there’s enough validation in this model to solidify the details (determining hosting partner, branding, pricing, process for directing resources to LibreTime) and move forward.

We’ll keep this discussion (and all code of course) in the open, so don’t hesitate to chime in if you’re interested in participating or contributing.

One of the stations interested in participating in a beta is one I’m part of. We’ve been looking at https://worldwidefm.net/ as a model. While there’s some information about tools they’re using, it wasn’t clear what they were using for scheduling and automation…until this just came across my Facebook feed. pro%20-%20Home%202018-12-13%2000-44-48

Based on that, I’d like to work with @ned-kelly and whoever else is interested in providing the hosted setup we need. This could be essentially the pilot project for a beta that could eventually evolve into a service. The station and provider are already set up on OpenCollective to collect/distribute funds for hosting, development, and other costs. Ideally we’ll be able to allocate a % of funds to LibreTime if we ever get around to setting up a collective.

Think this would be a good one to pilot?

Aware this post is morphing into a catch-all for what’s most likely multiple product and service offerings.

Here are a couple more examples of radio/podcast services that are extended by their own site builder and/or integration -

Both I believe are built on top of WordPress… which has me wondering if there’s any potential overlap with what @djtonyz is working on Question about User API, uploading from WordPress, and Podcast function

Current thinking is LibreTime and the website product(s) would be separate. Funds for any overlapping functionality could flow through Open Collective. Services could be provided by partners who can also use Open Collective to send a % back to fund the OSS projects.

With regards to finding enough stations and podcasters to pay TBD $$ to enroll in such a beta. The #communitymedia channel in the Open Collective community is one of several with collaborators and potential partners converging.

With LibreTime on Open Collective https://opencollective.com/libretime, we can now move this forward. Still need to sort out the details, but I think any sort of service offering would be seperate from LibreTime.

In terms of features/functionality we’d want to provide LibreTime users a similar or better experience than they’d get with AirTime Pro.

Is there a milestone that would get us there? https://github.com/LibreTime/libretime/milestones

Whatever it is (maybe it’s a milestone) + some additional features… we’d want this type of beta to help fund development.

We’re coming in a little bit late to this conversation, but I’d like to add my $.02.

We’ve been evaluating Airtime for about a year for our own use, but also to provide as a member benefit to news organization members of the Fourth Estate.

Like many others we’ve been incredibly frustrated being continually driven the the Airtime.pro service and we want something that can be very closely branded and managed by our team. I am pretty sure that LibreTime will fit that need.

1 Like

@gusaus Thanks for the mention about my needs with LibreTime and WordPress.

What I’ve discovered is that if I use a custom post type of Podcast in WordPress, I can use PowerPress to create the Taxonomy feed URL based on a FILTER added to the Podcast and then pass that taxonomy feed into LibreTime Smart Blocks. I don’t necessarily have to create a DJ in LibreTime then, I can create a new role of DJ in WordPress using the Members plugin to manage the role and give the role rights to publish a Podcast and have the show files update the Smart Block.

Now, I wanted to announce that I just took over a WordPress plugin, Radio Station, in the WordPress plugin repo. It’s an open source plugin to publish Show pages and create and display a master show calendar. I would love to find a way to pass LibreTime events and meta data into Radio Station. The plugin is on Github at https://github.com/netmix/radio-station. It’s plugin page is https://wordpress.org/plugins/radio-station. I’m using my Netmix brand I’ve held onto since the early 90s as the managing entity.

Our goal is to build a sticky footer player into the plugin, so that a radio station can use our plugin instead of an Online Radio Box or something like that. Radio Stations need persistent header or footer players, not widgets. The stream is interrupted when the user changes pages, so there needs to be a WordPress solution that encompasses the Show Shedule and provides a player experience combined.

I’m hoping to get some feedback and direction here, if at all possible, on how LibreTime might be able to integrate with Radio Station, so that there is a Libre Time to WordPress easily available solution that helps radio stations choose LibreTime as their option and can then use it immediately with WordPress, since Radio Station will give them that functionality.

So, the goal would be if someone were to set up their shows and DJs in LibreTime, they could be passed over to WordPress through Radio Station and resulting Show pages, stream, and playlists could be added automatically.

@FourthEstate As it looks like you’ve added more than $.02 (thank you!), I think the LibreTime team would like to hear about your particular goals/needs and see what they can do to accommodate.

While most of the discussion in this thread has been preliminary, it seems there might be overlap with potential collaborations in the community media space. For instance, we’ve been talking to https://nfcb.org/ about providing LibreTime and other open-source tools to their members.

Possibly members of both orgs might be interested in participating in the beta we’ve been discussing here?

Thanks. As a co-operative entity, using and supporting FOSS is baked into the DNA of Fourth Estate. We use it and we actively contribute whenever we can.

I’d like to see the LibreTime community focus on building and shipping code. Period. Moving into SaaS offerings is something that will likely be competitive to many of the users and backers - Fourth Estate included - that could push rapid development.

We would likely not be interested in that beta. In large part because we plan on using LibreTime in a similar manner for our SMB community news members and our coming College News Network.

One takeaway from this discussion is any sort of customer-facing service offering (including a beta) should be decoupled from LibreTime development. Using Open Collective as a conduit, developers could build and maintain custom features and specific integrations (i.e. Drupal, WordPress), provide security updates, mentor and train users members via a partner or organizations collective.

For example, if Fourth Estate had a collective, it could create a campaign for each custom instance of LibreTime. Developers could invoice against the collective and/or a % of funds could be transferred to the LibreTime collective as a way to fund ongoing development.

A service provider/partner could use Open Collective to help sustain the OSS project(s) and contributors in a similar fashion.

The LibreTime team is still sorting out a process for using Open Collective and other tools to sustain the project. Accommodating the needs of partners and supporters in this discussion should certainly help.

Just putting this out there. What if Fourth Estate took it over under our organizational umbrella?