Best Chiptune Radio Stations

Chiptune radio stations are becoming more prevalent. Making a chiptune station is sort of like making a “rock” station, you can’t appeal to everyone’s tastes and respect the history of the genre. However, there are some pretty decent stations out there that sort of have their own flavor. Here’s a quick rundown of what to expect to find the one that’s right for you.

8BitX

8BX-4C-drk_bg

-Format: Streaming

-Navigation: Forward Only

-Summary: If you miss your college radio station and the sounds of your NES, this is your station.

-Mobile Friendly: iOS/Android

8BitX is a huge undertaking of a chiptune radio station based out of Philadelphia, home to one of the most active chiptune scenes in the USA. 8BitX feels the most like a real radio station to me. It has different shows with different styles of chipmusic, remixes, video game rock bands and all kinds of stuff like that. You’ll hear raw, hardware chip stuff, OC remix-styled stuff and rock covers of classic tracks. If you miss your college radio station’s chatter and want to stream some videogame-related tracks, this is the place to go. They’re also affiliated with Piko Piko and other chip collectives so you’ll hear a lot of great music here. I recomend the 8bit Power Hour and anything else hosted by the Chiptunes=Win blog. It really sort of takes me back in time in two ways, video game music and awesome college radio.

GeekBeat Radio

Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 6.31.29 AM

-Format: Podcasts/Live Streaming

-Navigation: Live Streaming = Forward Only

-Summary: The Place for High Quality NES and Gameboy Tunes

-Mobile Friendly: Android Only (flash)

I love Geek Beat’s little retro background with 8-bit clouds and mountains that slide by as you play. I even like that winamp-y spectrum deal that plays while you stream it. This station has high quality chiptune songs 24/7. I feel like the stuff on here is more video-game and demoscene-influenced than some of the other entries, it’s not quite so dance/remix-centric. It’s mostly pure chip sounds all the way! You’ll hear stuff that sounds like a long-lost Megaman track and other nostalgia-inducing goodness. You’ll hear some interesting covers as well on this high quality, very dedicated radio station! I rarely hear a track I don’t like. The operators of GeekBeat have informed me they’re hard at work on getting it to stream on iOS devices too.

Battle of the Bits

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-Format: Streaming

-Navigation: Playlist Style, Full Control

-Summary: Mostly Pure Chip station populated by the entries hundreds of competitions.

-Mobile Friendly: Android Only (flash)

I love this site. It reminds me of the old day’s of underground BBS boards, back when the interwebs only had 16 colors. The site is hilarious, obnoxious, convoluted and ultimately has a character all its own. This is the place for hardcore hardware chiptune (at least the majority of it) artists. The radio station is filled with the results of tons of ‘battles’ which are basically contests which people make songs within a set of parameters (use this sample, use this tracker, produce on this hardware, etc). There is a lot more than just LSDJ tracks coming out of this site. While some tracks may be noisier and weirder than you’re used to, play this station for a few hours and you’ll be walking away with some new favorite obscure underground chip artists. You can skip and rewind which is also nice since some other stations don’t allow this. There’s not many things going on hear that anyone would label “fake bit”, considering that most contests require you to submit the raw nsf, dmf, svram, etc file.

Digitally Imported: Chiptunes Channel

Screen Shot 2013-04-10 at 10.41.59 PM

-Format: Streaming

-Navigation: Forward Only

-Summary: Randomized Playlist of things somebody labels as chiptune, most of it good.

-Mobile Friendly: No

This page is sort of a random assortment of chiptune flavored tracks, lots of variety, not a lot of cohesion, quality level is fairly high overall and you will find some good stuff you wont hear elsewhere. This one seems to be just bot-run, playing its way through a playlist. You might get a raw LSDJ track followed by some kind of ambient song with something vaguely retro going on in it. Like most DI channels, it’s kind of all over the place, but you’ll find good stuff here or there. It’s kind of like when you have a “rock” station that plays anything labeled “rock” – you get Led Zeppelin followed by Sum 41 and are bound to lose a few listeners. One thing this station has above the rest is the fact that it works on AppleTV, it’s in the default setup under Radio > Electronica > DI: Chiptunes, so if all you have is a TV in the room, this is your only option for streaming chiptunes.

Noise Channel

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-Format: Podcast/Archived Downloads

-Navigation: Full control

-Summary: Awesome podcast featuring new stuff and upcoming events.

-Mobile Friendly: Podcast

This is not a station, but a show. It’s mighty good and you can download their archives to hear some quality stuff. I like the show format because you get more than just a playlist of tunes and you can rewind and identify tracks you liked and stuff like that. Noise Chan also helps you keep up with what’s going on in the scene and about new releases, upcoming shows and a lot more. Check out there amazing compilation albums too. TrueStar and the other owners of this podcast really contribute a lot to the chiptune world. What’s even better is the albums they put out go to raise money for charities. So go buy it now, I  mean, you love kids and want to help them, right?!

Alpha and Omega Radio

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-Format: Streaming

-Navigation: Forward Only

-Summary: More than just chiptune, video game music from all periods.

-Mobile Friendly: iOS/Android
Alpha and Omega radio is not strictly chiptune. It’s a great place to hear what modern composers are doing with video game music and you will hear some chiptune, chiptune-influenced stuff. There’s also a lot of news on this site about what’s going on in the world of game soundtrack composers. All and all it’s a nice change of pace once in a while.

Last.Fm

-Format: Streaming
-Navigation: Playlist Style
-Summary: Pretty decent mixture of ‘big name’ chiptunes and obscure stuff
-Mobile Friendly: iOS/Android with Paying Membership

Last.Fm is a great site for listening to indie music and obscure styles like shoegaze or drone. It’s probably the online station I use the most. It’s more underground than Pandora but sports the same basic operating principles. Their #chiptune tag channel is pretty good. You’ll get a lot of remixy electro stuff as well as scene standards like Dubmood, Anamanaguchi and Depreciation Guild. Just keep using the heart button to define your style. It’s actually a better variety than I would’ve expected and the quality level is pretty decent.

Pandora

-Format: Streaming
-Navigation: Playlist Style
-Summary: A few big names and some remixes.
-Mobile Friendly: iOS/Android

I can’t really say Pandora is the greatest place for chiptunes. You’ll mostly only hear the most well known, record label chiptune artists like Sabrepulse, Dubmood, Anamanaguchi and 8bit Weapon. It’s not bad at all, but Pandora will constantly keep trying to gently nudge you out of chiptune and into electronica/dubstep for some reason. I guess that’s what it does when it doesn’t have enough artists to fill a genre. Still, it’s not bad if Pandora is all you have where you are at the moment.

Special thanks to Andy Goth for verifying Android accessibility.

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4 Comments

  1. Pedro Palhoto

     /  August 30, 2013

    I wasn’t aware of most stations on this list, what a great find. Here are some additional chiptune streams I listen to: Nectarine Demoscene Radio, Kohina, The SID Station and The MOD Station.

    Reply
  2. nathan

     /  January 5, 2015

    di is no longer unfortunately the closed out the channel, which is super sad

    Reply
    • That is too bad. Things come and go in the chiptune scene. But there’s always good stuff out there somewhere.

      Reply
  3. James

     /  July 15, 2016

    Have you heard of ChipBit.net?

    Reply

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