Podcast User Magazine Article – Circa 2007

Working as podcast producer
Working as podcast producer by the tartanpodcast, on Flickr

Looking through my collection of Google Docs, I stumbled across the following article that I wrote for Podcast User Magazine, possibly from 2007. This year marks seven years since I started Podcasting and, although lately I’ve been very lax on getting a regular show out, it’s still a very big part of my life.

Part of me wishes that the revolution I talk about in the article actually did happen and that these artists found fame for being extremely good at what they did, rather than through a Simon Cowell backed reality TV show. Can’t have everything though, can you?

How Podcasting is helping independent bands bring their music to the masses

Picture the scene. Early 2005 in a small, quiet house in central England. A 19-year-old guy who previously attempted to learn to play the drums, and failed, sits at his computer listening to a Podcast for the very first time, amazed that he is able to listen to some guy in the US talk with another guy and play music – their own music. The concept immediately has him thinking of the many “radio shows” he had recorded with a friend while at school. Only this time, there actually might be a chance for people to hear what he had been trying to say.

That was my very first experience of podcasting, listening to Steve Lacey sit down and have a chat with a friend from his band; Spank. They talked about everyday things, podcasting, music and their band’s impending CD-release party. I was immediately bitten by the podcasting bug and wanted to know more. How did it all work? What did I need to do to get my own one out there? These answers were quite hard to come by, but after about a week I managed to hastily cobble together a very quiet podcast entitled “El’s Thoughts”.

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Revisited: How Podcasting is Helping Independent Artists

Over two years ago I was involved with Podcast User Magazine. It was an idea that a group of us had to deliver a magazine through PDF format automatically to our subscribers, via RSS. We assembled a group of well known podcasters (and some not so well known) from around the UK and set about creating content that would engage our readers.

As one of the founding members of the mag, I was asked to submit an article centered around my area of “expertise” at the time; independent artists.

Since then I’ve lost touch with a lot of the guys I used to help promote and play on my shows, but I wanted to share the article with you all anyway. Podcast User Magazine is currently on a short hiatus (well, 8 months) but they’re looking to make a return in the near future.

I’m take another look at the indepedent music scene in the near future, but for now have a read of this and let me know what you think.

Picture the scene. Early 2005 in a small, quiet house in central England. A 19-year-old guy who previously attempted to learn to play the drums, and failed, sits at his computer listening to a Podcast for the very first time, amazed that he is able to listen to some guy in the US talk with another guy and play music – their own music. The concept immediately has him thinking of the many “radio shows” he had recorded with a friend while at school. Only this time, there actually might be a chance for people to hear what he had been trying to say.

That was my very first experience of podcasting, listening to Steve Lacey sit down and have a chat with a friend from his band; Spank. They talked about everyday things, podcasting, music and their band’s impending CD-release party. I was immediately bitten by the podcasting bug and wanted to know more. How did it all work? What did I need to do to get my own one out there? These answers were quite hard to come by, but after about a week I managed to hastily cobble together a very quiet podcast entitled “El’s Thoughts”.

After the first show was complete and uploaded, I decided to do some research into the independent music scene. I obviously wasn’t the only person doing a podcast concentrating on music that wasn’t in the mainstream, but as I started to find and email bands via UKBands.net, I discovered that a lot of the UK scene had absolutely no idea what podcasting was. A good portion of the emails I sent out to bands were left unanswered, either because they had no idea what I was talking about or because they just weren’t used to people emailing them with a request to play their music.

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Podshow+: First Thoughts

Within a few hours of PodShow+ launching, a number of people were screaming bloody murder. It seems initially there had been a mistake made within the coding of the site which meant that any icons pointing to a podcasts’ XML feed went to a Podshow one instead of the original one. By the time I’d realised the ‘unleash’ had happened, everything was fixed so no bloody murder screaming coming from Birmingham tonight!

I’ve decided to do a little test of the PodShow PDN and move BFM over there for a while. There are a few reasons for this, which should be quite apparent if you’ve been keeping up with my various host problems recently. The main reason is to see what all the fuss is about, however. Adam Curry has been talking about the PDN et al for well over a year, so as a prominent British podcaster, I’m eager to take a butchers.

First thoughts then? Slick, easy to use, does what it says on the tin. I had a few problems getting the items in my feedburner feed to move over, but that was easily sorted with me entering the original WordPress feed from the bitjobs website. The only problem I can see so far is replacing the duplicate show that’s been residing in the podcast alley directory for a while. Hopefully there will be a way to sort that out soon.

The fact that the PDN takes all of your shows from the feed you input and migrates them over to their servers is pretty good. To move over 3GB of old show manually would take a hell of a long time. You’re also getting the added stability of a network provided by Limelight networks, something that many hosts can’t boast.

It’s been touted as the MySpace for podcasting, which, if it works out like that will be a breath of fresh air to the community; whatever you think of Adam Curry and co. ;)

So, for now at least, I’m happy with what the code monkies have been doing in San Fransisco. I bet you a tenner that a lot of other podcasters will love picking faults with it though…

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1 Response to “PodShow+: First Thoughts”


  1. 1 neil Jul 9th, 2006 at 11:25 am

    There seems to be some confusion between various elements of the site’s capabilities and offering – you have to get digging in order to get what you want from it and requiring that from launch is unfortunate. It can get confusing.

    But it’s still beta and I suspect in coming weeks I’ll get a very much more detailed picture of the whole thing, and perhaps get one or two things done more sensibly.

    Monitoring feedbak across the web – discounting the mess-up on day one with the RSS feeds being ‘hijacked’ and originator copyright information not being passed through – the overwhelming response is positive and that’s encouraging for a company that has taken so much abuse over the past year. I think Podshow will mature into a very strong product.

Music Podcasts – Taking it Live

A lot of podcasters have been talking lately about what they can do to expand their audience further than the usual crop of fans of bands they play, random surfers who get hooked and fellow podcasters. For music podcasters especially, taking the whole thing to a venue, filling it with 100-200 people, four bands (three local, one visiting) and then putting on a completely live version of their podcast is definitely one way to go. Not only do you provide a stage for bands to perform on in some of the best venues around the country, you allow them to reach out to people all across the world and for the people at the venue to realise that not all podcasts are produced by the BBC, Virgin or other commercial companies.

Podshow did it recently, but from what I can tell it wasn’t actually presented as a show, more of a showcase type affair. Our (mine and Spooks’) idea is to have the whole night recorded, the bands and crowd interviewed and then that turned into a podcast. I’m sure it’s nothing new, but from what I’ve heard so far, it would definitely present a better idea of where podcasting is to the outsider.

The first live show is down for sometime in August, in London and more details will be released as and when.

A Nice Quiet Weekend

Last week was another draining and noisy week. The back and forth between current UKPA members, prospective members and everyone in between is starting to grate on me (which I know will bring another barrage of comments ;) ).

Here’s my official position and last post for a while on the UKPA;

  • I am not against an organisation of British podcasters to handle negotiations with companies such as the MCPS/PRS and further the public image of British podcasting.
  • I am aware that any artists I play on my podcasts may one day sign up to the MCPS/PRS, meaning that it would be in my interests to pay for such a license.

It’ll be interesting to read about the meeting the UKPA will be attending next week with the MCPS/PRS (I’m assuming audio will also be made available). Representing 250+ podcasters (still no indication on how many of those are part of the UKPA) is quite a big deal, so I wish everyone involved the best of luck.

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6 Responses to “A nice, quiet weekend”

  1. Gravatar Icon 1 Spook May 23rd, 2006 at 11:44 am

    Hope you are feeling not so frazzled!!!

  2. Gravatar Icon 2 Phil May 23rd, 2006 at 6:10 pm

    Not as much as I have been, PC problems don’t help though :(

  3. Gravatar Icon 3 Adrian May 23rd, 2006 at 9:51 pm

    “I am aware that any artists I play on my podcasts may one day sign up to the MCPS/PRS, meaning that it would be in my interests to pay for such a license.”

    I don’t think it would necessarily be in your interests to sign up for a licence Phil. Providing you keep on top of it and make sure the tracks you play are genuinely podsafe for every show, you won’t need a licence of any sort. Even if the worst happens and they apply it retrospectively, the worst that will happen is that you have to take old shows out of your feed.

    As long as you keep playing new stuff, you shouldn’t need to worry I think, although buying a licence will give you more flexibility if that’s what you want.

  4. Gravatar Icon 4 Phil May 24th, 2006 at 8:14 am

    Thanks Adrian.Old shows aren’t in the feed for long before I take them down, so I should be sorted. The first thing I do is make sure any music I play is podsafe, I’ve been doing that for well over 12 months.

    It’s going to be interesting to hear about the meeting the UKPA will be having with the MCPS/PRS so we can work out their motives for any licensing direct from them, instead of a lot of hearsay.

  5. Gravatar Icon 5 Dean Whitbread May 27th, 2006 at 2:44 pm

    Hi Phil

    What’s that quote about OS’s? Mac OS for productivity, Linux for stability, Palm OS for mobility, Windows for Solitaire….

    I agree with Adrian. Right now you don’t need any over-arching license. Or even a licence. Does anyone care that the word license/licence is correctly spelt both ways? it’s the same with UKPA or Non. Does anyone care beyond the very small circles of self-involved podcasters who seem obsessed with being pro or anti? No. But that doesn’t make it irrelevant. I agree that the pettiness is exhausting and time-wasting, but it’s inevitable because people feel territorial. I don’t – but clearly some people do.

    My personal take is that the wonderful world of podcasting is a big and various and there’s room for every shade of opinion and that UKPA is but one grouping, set up for specific reasons. I see the formation of UKPA in purely functional terms. It’s a pragmatic response to a situation which if handled correctly should give us some influence for the good of all. Beyond that, it’s up to the membership what they make of it.

    FYI there is no intention to record the meeting with MCPS-PRS and I am sure it would alarm them hugely if we set up mikes in order so to do. Not every discussion is helped by being recorded and made public. My feeling is we’ll get further and they are likely to be more forthcoming if they know that every slip or mis-phrased comment WON’T be held against them – they have already suffered for that.

  6. Gravatar Icon 6 Phil May 27th, 2006 at 9:21 pm

    Thanks for commenting Dean.

    If it isn’t recorded, I’d at least like some minutes to be taken that people can see what’s discussed (whether members only or otherwise).

    Good luck with it, shame I won’t be able to make it.

Linked Media Ltd is Launched

Looks like Neil and Adrian have been busy ;)

I have teamed up with Adrian Pegg to create a company which will focus on nurturing new opportunities for podcasters to reach new audiences in new ways – that means looking for and opening new routes rather than just jumping on the same bandwagon everyone else is… we are genuinely trying to push new ideas and frontiers.

Initially they’ll be ‘exploring the potential of mobile phones’. This is something that a lot of us have been discussing over at Britcaster and privately for a while. The amount of people that have mobile phones in the UK is enormous, so for podcasters companies like Linked Media will be a Godsend if they can negotiate with operators to allow us to have our content available to their users.

More details to be released soon at http://linkedmedia.co.uk

Right now it could be done, but the cost of mobile bandwidth is still a little too steep to make it worthwhile for people to check things out. A MB of data transfer on Orange is around £4, with the average podcast around 30MB if encoded at CD quality, that’s a hefty price to pay for something you can download for free using a computer.

At the moment the whole medium is still very much in it’s infancy, so it’ll be interesting to see how companies such as Linked and Pinnacle (newly formed company of Paul Pinfield and Nicholls) will get on.

To answer a question that came off the back of yesterday’s show;

Yes, I’m currently thinking about doing something with podcasting that would allow me to do it full time.

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