June 26, 2008

Podcampin'

This Saturday, I'll be making the trek all the way to Hilliard, Ohio (just outside Columbus, about an hour and a half away) for the very first Podcamp Ohio. A full day of New Media geekery.

I'll probably be doing some Twittering about what's going on, so you should probably follow me if you want to know what's going on there.

I'm looking forward to it. I don't get to go to the New Media Expo (other side of the country, may as well be the other side of the world right now), so it will be great to interact with other podcasters. And who knows -- next year, I may do a session of my own.

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December 04, 2006

Just Sticking My Head Up

I've had a few people asking me if I was ever going to blog again (ok, it was just one person), so I figured I would take advantage of being home tending a sick child (she's resting right now, as is the baby) to post something to remind the blogosphere I'm still here.

There's a quote from Universal Music Group's chairman that's been making the rounds lately, and I wanted to rant about it for a while now. Since my wife really doesn't care about DRM and tends to ignore me when I go on those kinds of rants, I figured I'd post it here -- isn't that what a blog is for, after all?

Dear old chairman Doug Morris said that ""These devices [portable MP3 players] are just repositories for stolen music, and they all know it. So it's time to get paid for it." Probably the stupidest thing I've read in a very long time.

Currently on my MP3 player I have 50 random music MP3s, plus another 19 that I intentionally added. That's 69 songs. 4 sermons that I intentionally added (two I've listened to and need to remove so I can get to the next part of the series, actually). 70 podcast episodes that I need to listen to (wow -- I'm a bit behind!). 71 pictures of my kids. And about a half a gig of free space.

So, according to Mr. Morris, those 69 songs must all be stolen, right? Well, let's see. 6 are songs I bought from iTunes. 8 were offered by Jamie Rowe" on his website for free. 17 are from CDs that I bought years ago. The rest (38 songs) are songs I downloaded from the artist's websites to play on my podcast -- songs I've been given permission to distribute on the podcast and am in possession of totally legally. And from talking to other portable MP3 player owners, I'm not unusual. Most people are walking around with totally legal music on their players.

Of course, you don't have to go far to find out what Morris' true motives are. He managed to get UMG $1 from the sale of every Zune Microsoft sells, and now he's optimistic that 2007 will be UMG's biggest year ever. Wonder why. Maybe it has something to do with getting paid for something that you haven't delivered to the vast majority of your "customers."

I'm not stupid enough to think that nobody with an iPod has illegal music on it. I taught high school -- I know how much piracy goes on. I also know that there's a lot less piracy than the RIAA and the labels want you to believe. They don't want to accept that there is quality music out there that people are buying that they don't have control over, and aren't getting any money for. They don't want to admit that people aren't fond of the garbage that they're putting out.

That's why the RIAA doesn't like podcasts. Nobody is podcasting their music -- most of us don't really want to. There's better music out there, and it's fun to find a band that's getting little attention and see them succeed because of the exposure they're given on podcasts. It's fun to "discover" a band that the big label A&R people have missed. And that's what people are doing, thanks to the Internet and podcasts. Bands can record their own music, put it out where people can hear it, produce and sell their own CDs. They can promote their own concerts. They can make a living playing music, and they don't need RIAA's help.

And I'm not going to say that all labels are bad, or wrong. I've had some contact with some labels, and some A&R people who have been really supportive of podcasting. I've actually been treated like a valuable partner, which is pretty cool. Better than the "Aw, look at the kid playing radio station. Isn't that cute?" think I've gotten from a few labels. But there are many labels who look at podcasting and digital music as competition. They don't see that their sales will increase when their artists' music is played and heard by larger groups of people. All they can see is that they aren't selling as many units -- cases of CDs are no longer flying off the shelves. Musicians will survive the "digital music revolution," but I'm not sure the music industry will. Or that it even deserves to, in it's present form.

{edit}And in a related story, I know that this from BBspot is a parody, but the scary thing is how realistic it sounds. I know people who have thought it was true

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April 01, 2006

Gift-Giving Ideas

It's never too early to start holiday gift shopping, right? And if you act now, you can grab one of these products that I'm sure will be in VERY short supply by the November/December gift-buying window. more...

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March 15, 2006

Podcast Subscriptions

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOK, so I'm stealing this idea from Joe Kennedy. Won't be the first time, won't be the last time. And it's a good idea.

I am a big proponent of podcasts -- I'm even writing a book on it, and why churches should be doing it. So it stands to reason that I listen to a bunch of them. So here are some, but not all (I'm subscribed to 39, including both of my own). more...

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March 11, 2006

From the "Did We Really Need This?" File ...

So I've seen the iPod jackets, with the headphones that pull out of the collar and the connection in the inner pocket. And I've seen the MP3 player sunglasses, and even those make sense.

But now I've seen everything.

New from LL International Dada Shoes: the MP3 sneaker.

The Code M System is a proprietary wireless technology application for footwear that delivers both audio and data. The initial application of the System is a shoe that delivers music to a wireless headset. The delivery system consists of two key components built into Dada shoes, offering easy access to music with no wires and no digital music device to carry.

The Code M system is integrated into the shoe’s heel and tongue. Its memory gives the device the ability to hold up to 100 songs with a six-hour battery life. A USB port on the lateral side of the shoe allows downloading of music and re-charging of the battery. Another important element in the system is the wireless headset, which picks up music from the shoes as far away as 30 feet.


I'm just waiting to see the poor guy that tries to board a plane with these shoes.

Dada will sell Code M products primarily through the company’s normal retail outlets, but Willis also intends to market shoes through electronics retailers and catalogs where consumers are comfortable buying technology-based products. Suggested retail for Dada’s basketball line employing the Code M system will be $199.99.

Now, there are some interesting things you can do with this Code M technology. I see kids trying to share iPod earbuds all the time: with this, they could each have a headset, and you could even set it up so that each MP3 player had a matching code for the headphones, and you could change the code on your headphones to match your friend's MP3 player and listen to what they were playing. And with a reported 30 foot range, I could send music from my MP3 player to the stereo when I wanted to share something with the rest of the family.

But shoes?? Do we really need that?

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March 01, 2006

Christian Podder Part 2

Somebody listened!!!

The Christian Podder Sync tool has been replaced with an RSS feed. You can now use any podcasting software to download your Christian Podder content.
NOW I can recommend this unconditionally. I'm glad that Lifeway has decided to do things this way -- the key is to make content available to everyone, not to make people use proprietary software.

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February 24, 2006

It WAS a Good Idea!!

So, not too long ago, I told my wife I had a great idea. I was going to talk to the folks at Lifeway about setting up a podcast service for Christians, especially churches, who wanted to podcast but wanted to keep costs to a minimum. The service would be free for Southern Baptists -- supported by the Cooperative Program -- and of minimal expense (less than $5 a month) for non SBC folks. NOT because we're better than the rest of ya', but because we already pay into the CP, so in effect we'd really be paying something, just more indirectly.

Today I learned, thanks to Podcasting News, that Lifeway has done it already, or at least they are supporting the folks who are doing it. Christian Podder even goes me a step better - they're free for everyone who wants to d a Christian podcast. They'l host your MP3 files and everything.

The only drawback is that to listen to podcasts on their system, you have to download their software. There's no RSS feed to plug into iTunes or anything like that. MOST of the podcasts that are listed have their own web sites, and assumably an RSS feed for the podcast, but people who are new to podcasting may not have that. If the idea is to get the word out to everyone, I'm not sure that Christian Podder will be the most effective, though for edification it will be an outstanding resource. I think that podcasts need to be available to iTunes users, and publicizing an RSS feed can only increase the number of listeners to the podcast.

I've signed up, and both my podcasts will be added to their directory, but I'm not abandoning the hosting I already have at podOmatic. I get an RSS feed there, and my shows will show up in iTunes and all the other podcast directories that I've submitted them to. One thing I've learned in podcasting -- don't put all your eggs in one basket, nor all your hopes in one podcasting directory or service. But Christian Podder is a valuable service, and I can now honestly say that one of my great ideas really was a great idea. So great that it's already been done!

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February 21, 2006

Pay to Play Podcasting?

There are some podcasts that are going to a subscription-only format. The Earthcore podcast, which was originally presented as a free weekly podcast, is now available in the iTunes music store for $9.99 for a complete download. Also, one of the most popular podcasts in the BBC's recent podcasting experiment, The Ricky Gervais Show, is going to a subscription-based format starting on the 28th of February. The show will cost $2 per fownload from Audible.co.uk and iTunes.

I've known podcasters who have done similar things. The Richard Vobes Show has some things that are available to everyone, but has special subscriber content that makes people want to pay the $20 to become a member. I like that business model better. Give people a reason to give you money, rather than simply assume that they're willing to start paying for something that you've previously given them for free.

Earthcore is a different case, though, and I agree witht he way it was handled -- though here, again, is an example of something that would be better served with some value-added content. I'm sure people have saved the episodes of the original podcast on their computers, or burned them to CDs. I can see these being passed around by fans, bypassing the pay-per-listen downloads. But if the new downloads gave users something more for their ten bucks, there might be more people downloading.

Of course, I've said for a while now that the answer for the record industry isn't going after people who rip CDs, or making CDs unrippable, but to make some value-added content available only on the original CD. Coupons for free stuff, codes for free downloads, drawings for free concert tickets, etc. would be a great idea here, and there are fans who would shell out the money for these extras.

Think value added -- it's the way to go. This is one area where my former marketing weasel self shines through -- people will pay more if they think they're getting more. Don't believe me? Hang out at the local Sams one Saturday morning, and watch the people buying 20 gallon drums of Mustard because it's cheaper per serving than buying it by the squeeze bottle. There's a perceived value. And it works everywhere -- even in the recording industry, if they'll let it.

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February 11, 2006

US Olympic Team Podcasts ... Sorta

I was thrilled to see that the US Olympic Team has a podcast site. I got there, fired up iTunes, and was ready to add the feed to my already growing collection of Olympic podcasting goodness.

But there's no feed address. The US Olympic Team must have read the same misinformation that Forbes magazine did, because all that they have on the site are a bunch of .m3u files -- MP3 playlists. You can't even download the thing to your iPod, much less subscribe to a feed and have the content automatically downloaded for you. All it is is an audio diary, with no way to listen if you aren't connected to the internet. Disappointing.

But there are a bunch of Olympic podcasts out there. You can see a list at the Podcasting News site.

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February 10, 2006

When "the Man" Gets it Wrong

Found this article on Podcasting at forbes.com, and read with anticipation. I love getting a more mainstream take on podcasting and podcasters.

Unfortunately, Forbes didn't do it's homework. At all. more...

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January 29, 2006

Podcasting Preachers

I am a huge proponent for churches having a podcast. I've been producing one for my own church (which hasn't been updated in a while, due to hosting issues, unfortunately), and I think it's a great way for local churches to expand their ministries to people who may never set foot in a church building.

One of my biggest gripes is that so few "big" preachers podcast. They have their tapes, which are offered on their web sites, but they don't have a podcast. The recording is there, but so many of them would rather charge people for it. I've never understood that. I've always chalked it up to a lack of understanding of what a podcast is.

One of my favorite preachers is podcasting now. Alistair Begg is offering daily podcasts of his radio show. Head over to the Truth for Life podcasting site and register. It's free, and they'll give you the RSS feed address so you can plug it into your favorite podcastcher. If you have iTunes, you can just search for Truth for Life in the podcast section and subscribe straight from there.

John MacArthur is also podcasting. You can subscribe to the GraceLife podcast using this RSS URL (thanks, Phil!)

Al Mohler also podcasts his daily radio show. More information is at his website -- the link to subscribe to the podcast is on the right.

Fill those iPods you got for Christmas with good programming. And don't forget about the Pewcast and Sunday at First Baptist -- I've just about got the hosting problems worked out, so both will be updated VERY soon!!!

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January 26, 2006

The Digital Content Protection Act of 2006?

From the EFF:

Fair use has always been a forward-looking doctrine. It was meant to leave room for new uses, not merely "customary historic uses." Sony was entitled to build the VCR first, and resolve the fair use questions in court later. This arrangement has worked well for all involved -- consumers, media moguls, and high technology companies.

Now the RIAA and MPAA want to betray that legacy by passing laws that will regulate new technologies in advance and freeze fair use forever. If it wasn't a "customary historic use," federal regulators will be empowered to ban the feature, prohibiting innovators from offering it. If the feature is banned, courts will never have an opportunity to pass on whether the activity is a fair use.

Fair use redefined. "Historic use" will kill innovation. "Historic use" is a joke. Write your senator about this now while it's still in draft.

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November 29, 2005

Podcasts Going Mainstream?

One of the most attractive things about podcasting is the "pirate radio" attitude -- WITH decent production values. You can listen to niche podcasts about anything at all. Podcasting builds community, and artists benefit. It's also cheap (free) PR, and some folks are starting to get that idea.

Now mainstream radio is jumping in, using podcasting as a revenue source.

With radio trying to find new revenue streams, this is one of the obvious ones,” said Matt Feinberg, senior vp of national radio for Zenith Media, who has bought podcast advertising for a client.
Anyone who is podcasting right now is laughing. Podcasting? Revenue Streams??!! There are people who are generating money with their podcasts, but after their expenses I figure they might be breaking even. I know I'm not making a dime on my own podcast, and wouldn't dream of trying to make money on the church podcast. And that's not why I'm doing them. It's not why the majority of podcasters are doing their podcasts.

We podcast because they're fun. I did radio in college, and it's like owning your own radio station. I'm even starting to get demo CDs sent to me from bands around the country, asking me to play their stuff on the podcast.

Podcasting has changed the way a lot of people listen to music. But right now there are FAR too many professionally-done podcasts that are free for radio stations to even be thinking about subscription-based podcasts. They're going to have to do some serious value-adding to make that model go.

By the way -- if you want to hear some great music podcasts that are professionally done, check out a few of my fellow members of AMP. Right now, we're running a contest to rename iPodderX -- you can win some incredible prizes.

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October 27, 2005

The Many Faces of iPod

There are a lot of accessories for iPods. And today seems to be the day that the strange ones come out.

First, I read about the BrixPod case. Looks like something made out of Legos, right? 'Cause it is.

The BrixPod Classic is a signed and numbered limited edition of 300 units. Each BrixPod is assembled by hand from 59 genuine LEGO® parts. The BrixPod Classic can be displayed alone but is intended for use with the iPod shuffle (not included). By inserting the shuffle into the top of the BrixPod you get the effect of a fully functional music player constructed from LEGO®. The shuffle is held securely and protected inside the BrixPod. By pushing on the screen area of the BrixPod the shuffle can be paused/played. An eject slider on the back of the BrixPod allows you to remove the shuffle easily.
But this is what really caught my attention:
Inspired by the world's obsession and devotion to the iPod, iBelieve is a replacement lanyard for your iPod Shuffle. It is a social commentary on the fastest growing religion in the world.
My only question is -- what religion would that be, exactly?

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August 30, 2005

Podsafe Music Network: Yea or Nay

I joined the Podsafe Music Network a couple days ago. I figured it would give me a few more bands to feature on my podcast. And I admit, I merely glanced over the terms.

Reading them closely now, I see this:

8. You agree that a Broadcast or Music Podcast will not:

a. contain hate material, promote violence, discriminate based on race, sex, religion, nationality, disability, sexual orientation, age, or family status, or contain any other materials deemed unsuitable or harmful to the reputation of PodShow or the Licensor;

b. promote or reference software piracy (warez, cracking, etc.), hacking, phreaking, emulators, ROM's, or illegal MP3 activity;

c. promote illegal activities, deceptive practices or violations of the intellectual property rights of others; or

d. be advertised or promoted through the use of unsolicited bulk email.

Interestingly, PsMN has a category for Christian music. Wouldn't you think that any Christian programming that takes the claims of Christ seriously would potentially be in violation of the discriminating based on religion clause? As Christians, don't we discriminate? Don't we say that Christ is THE way?

The exclusivity of the Gospel is a non-negotiable. Podsafe or not, I won't be using Podsafe Music Network music on the Pewcast, and what I have downloaded is being deleted.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 10:27 PM | Comments (2) | Add Comment
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