Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Podcast and Music: What's up with that?

While the record companies seemed to easily embrace radio as a way to allow their audience to sample music before buying, they can't seem to get their heads around doing the same thing with podcasts.

That's preventing a lot of great podcasts from taking off. I'm not a legal expert on this, but I do understand that there is music that is "podsafe" and music that isn't. From what I understand, it comes down to rights and licensing. While radio stations have signed licenses to broadcast music over the airwaves, those licenses don't translate to digital properties.

So a guy like Pete Fornatale can't put his great "Mixed Bag" show out as a podcast. It's a shame, the guy is a legend and deserves to be heard outside of the New York metro area. Also, a friend who works for a major music label and loves jazz laments how the music is essentially dying because it can't find a mass audience. Too bad, because I'm sure it could find its audience using podcasting.

I happen to like the Americana Roots Podcast, which features some great "podsafe" folk, country and other "twangy" music. But I wonder what the show could be if the music industry would get behind this medium. It also comes with Randall's Random Reviews, which is similar, though with clips of songs rather than whole tracks. The show is certainly worth a listen.

Boston doesn't have a great country scene, so I'm somewhat limited in what I hear. Yes, we have a few great folk stations, and if you look hard enough you can find some decent country music on the college stations*, but then you have to know they're there (marketing is not their strong suit) and be listening at the right time. The podcast lets the music come to me and fit into my schedule.

The best part of music on a podcast? For much of it, if I like it, I just buy my own version on iTunes.

*Southern Rail, which is heard Saturday afternoon on WBRS-FM, is a descendant of the Across America show I put in place back in 1991, much to the dismay of those around me. It's never been cool here in the northeast to like country, folk, bluegrass and other things that go "twang."
There are some exciting things coming out of the country scene that are very different from the overly commercial stuff you hear on many stations.

No comments: