Showtime ..

Now that the core tools for podcasting are more or less becoming available to a wider public, the focus shifts to content, recording and editing tools, podcast receivers and to the huge potential of podcasting, both in content and applications.


What do you want to hear?

What do you want to produce?

What are the best tools for recording and editing?

How do you find the available content?

How do you make your own content available and easy to find?

What about the (potentially huge) costs of outbound bandwidth?

What about the possibilities of merging podcasting with other applications?

What roadblocks lie ahead regarding rights? Some info about MP3 licensing here.



At 7:03 AM, Blogger BrendoMan said...

Hi! Great blog you have here! I'm very interested in Podcasting and am trying to put one together. I'm using Windows so I think I'm going to try using Audacity, but I'm not sure how to put a feed together since I use Movable Type for my blog. Thanks for all the great resources you're posting. As far as potential issues, I could see where RIAA and other folks would try to intervene if shows were to use copyrighted MP3s and such. I'm trying to put together some tunes that I have permission to use so I don't get any hassle.

At 3:29 AM, Blogger Jim said...

Please excuse what I think may be a long reply. I haven't been this excited about a new twist in audio-web technology since I discovered Winamp.

BrendoMan - you are absolutely correct about the RIAA raising it's ugly head somewhere down the road and easily shutting down podcasts since it's very easy to trace back to the original source. So I commend you for looking to use music you have permission to use. (That's the only music we play here at Whole Wheat Radio and how we avoid the RIAA trap.) I encourage you to also look at the thousands of artists who don't release on RIAA affiliated labels - CDBaby is an outstanding resource to find them.

Now for the questions ... please recognize that I'm in a somewhat unique position as a webcaster who really wants podcast content in order to rebroadcast it to a listening audience.

What do you want to hear?I want to hear home-produced short pieces 5-10 minutes in length about ... anything. I'm not interested in music podcasts unless they are of 100% non-RIAA affiliated independent artists. I'm also not interested in audio that has such bad quality that I can't re-air it without plugging my ears. (To that end, I'm beginning to do some Podcaster Hints-n-Tips podcasts on our blog.)

What do you want to produce?Same thing we produce on the webcast. What I'm really excited about is being able to create 1 hour musical shows of outstanding independent artists who are seldom heard elsewhere and getting that into people's iPods. I'm also very excited to produce a politically-charged musical show before the upcoming election and getting that out to listeners who otherwise might not know that a lot of wonderful musicians share their political sentiments.

What are the best tools for recording and editing?I plan to touch on this in a future podcast, but I can only speak for the Windows world. I personally use Adobe Audition (used to be Cool Edit) because it has every tool for audio processing that a podcaster needs. It is outstanding in fixing audio that is 'too hot' (peaked) and tweaking the EQ so that more high-end is available before the MP3 format strips it all out. As far as recording, I'm in a unique situation since I'm recording live webcasts, so this won't apply to many people but Spacial Audio's Winamp broadcasting plugin has a quick "record whatever's going over the stream to an MP3 file directly" option that is outstanding.

How do you find available content?My Bloglines RSS reader which I've made public. The Podcasting folder is what I'm following now.

How do you make your own content available and easy to find?Via our blog. I had to add some custom PHP programming to the pMachine blogging software in order to get the "enclosure" tags. I started out by writing my own custom blog page for the enclosure tags but that was a mistake. Better to "fix" blog software that doesn't do enclosures than to try and re-invent the world.

I also wrote custom PHP code to get file information directly from the MP3 and put that in the blog entry. I include Title, Arist, Album, Genre, Comments and useful information like the length and bitrate. That way people who are manually looking at what's available can make a decision about whether they want to download or not. I'm hopeful that the next version of the RSS enclosure tag will have fields for length and bitrate so that automated software like iPodder can decide whether to get the podcast or not.

What about the (potentially huge) costs of outbound bandwidth?Yeah, I haven't quite come to grips with that yet. Since it's listeners who pay for our bandwidth I have to be careful not to over do it. I'm still waiting to see what impact our uploading from my local machine to our server is going to have. Once it's at the server though I think I'm okay since we're on a dedicated server that has a lot of available bandwidth for people to download our podcasts. It may be excessive bandwidth usage that ultimately makes me cut back on podcasting. But I'm having too much fun now to worry about it.

What roadblocks lie ahead regarding rights?We licked that puppy when we went all non-RIAA music 2 years ago. It was the best decision I ever made not only in terms of sleeping soundly at night knowing the RIAA can't sue us but also in terms of discovering a whole new universe of music. I've been totally reinvigorated as a music consumer and taken along a wonderful listening audience with me.

Thanks for asking! I'm excited to see other people's responses and just hope I didn't put anyone off by being so verbose...

At 5:24 PM, Blogger BrendoMan said...

Jim, I just want to say I love your show. It's great! Thanks for the tips. I actually made a Podcast the other night and I used some mucis I found over at Creative Commons. I'm familiar with CD Baby and I will definitely check that out. My problem right now is uploading my show, since my connection here in China isn't so great. I can't even seed a Bit Torrent file. Anyway, those are some great comments and I'm really looking forward to what happens in the future with podcasting.

At 6:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From Michael Lehman (Podcasting from Softwareland) (anonymous because I don't have a Blogger account!)

I couldn't agree more that the RIAA will track down (easily) those who use copyrighted music without permission. That why I use my own music :)

But on a more serious note I think that this medium is an awesome opportunity to get music noticed on a grass roots level and I plan to use my show to feature music from those people I know in the music community who will give me permission to share their work.

On a related note, if anyone likes the tracks that I've written and wants to use them (I have them in vocal an non-vocal versions) let me know, they're available under the Creative Commons non-commercial licence.


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