The Rock and Roll Report Podcast is just one of hundreds if not thousands of music podcasts out there hosted by everybody from keen fans to record labels to major media like the BBC, but why would any musician want to get involved in what some are calling a media revolution?
A podcast, just in case you are wondering is simply a digital audio file that people can download to their computer, phone or MP3 player and listen to at their convenience. Big deal you might think, downloadable audio has been available off websites for years! While this is true, the difference is in the way that these files are distributed. Using something called an RSS feed, all a listener has to do is subscribe to the podcast using this feed and they will automatically receive the latest edition of a podcast directly on their computer without any further action on their own. Using the Rock and Roll Report Podcast as an example, if a potential listener is searching in the music podcast section of the iTunes Music Store and comes across the Rock and Roll Report Podcast and is intrigued, all they would have to do is click on the “subscribe” button. From then on until they unsubscribe (which we know they wont do because the music played on the podcast is just too damn good!) they will automatically receive the latest podcast right to their computer and as soon as they plug in their iPod to their computer that new podcast will download onto their iPod without the owner having to do anything. It’s that simple. And you don’t have to use the iPod or iTunes to achieve this as the process is just as simple with iTunes alternatives like Juice or other MP3 players.
Since the podcast consists of a digital file, it is important to understand that listeners will have an MP3 copy of any music played on the podcast on their hard drive. The major labels think that this is a “bad thing” for the most part but thousands of musicians have been making their music “podsafe” so that they can actively participate in this new marketing and promotional opportunity. Why?
Well, just think about who is producing these podcasts and who are listening to them. Podcast producers like myself are enthusiastic fans who want to encourage other fans to listen to, enjoy and support the musicians that we play and the people who listen to the podcasts are fans as well who for the most part are dying to hear something new, fresh and exciting. By making your music “podsafe” which is essentially saying ‘we are allowing you to listen to this song on your iPod in the hopes that you will like what you hear and therefore buy our CD, go to our gigs and buy our merch” you are getting your music into the ears of people that WANT to listen to what you are playing. They are tired of the same old stuff on the radio and being force fed major label crap and they want get their rocks off to something they haven’t heard before.
The great thing about the podcast movement and the growth of podsafe music is that the musicians and labels that are taking part are treating their fans and potential fans as allies on their musical journey as opposed to enemies that must be sued into submission. While it is early days yet, there is growing evidence that podcasting is starting to generate some positive influence amongst music fans as they are starting to realize that not only are they getting to hear some great music that they otherwise might not have been aware of but they are getting it from people who they readily identify with as being fans first and foremost and who actually care about the music they are playing, guided only by their own musical tastes and sensibilities.
If you are a music fan, I urge you to check out podcast directories like the aforementioned iTunes Music Store and Podcast Pickle. If you are a musician and are somewhat intrigued at the possibilities that podcasts present then check out services like Garageband, the Podsafe Music Network and IODA Promonet and start making some of your tracks podsafe today.
We stand on the edge of a new paradigm of discovering and listening to music, one that is not dictated to us by the major labels and entertainment conglomerates but that is percolating up from real music fans. The opportunities are endless and the risks are low for those who want to engage the people who might enjoy your music best. If you want your music to be heard by people that care, take a look at getting involved with a podcast like The Rock and Roll Report. You have nothing to lose and only fans to gain.
If you would like to be considered for the Rock and Roll Report Podcast you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening.