August 24, 2005

Podcast Start-up Creates Music Network Podcasting start-up PodShow, the love child of former MTV video jockey Adam Curry, has created a network for musicians and podcasters.
The PodSafe music network is designed to give podcasters access to music, other content and tools to create royalty-free podcasts, the company said Tuesday. Musicians can use the network to promote and market their music, while listeners can access music in single-play or podcast formats, the company said.

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Arbitron: PPM can track podcast listening

MediaWeek: Arbitron said it had successfully demonstrated the portable people meter's ability to track listening to podcasts.
In a test with Clear Channel during the week of July 18, Arbitron encoded several podcasts from WHTZ-FM (Z100) in New York that were uploaded to the podcast section of Apple's iTunes Music Store. The podcasts were then downloaded to an MP3 player and played over headsets using the PPM headset adapter.

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August 21, 2005

Melodeo Plans Free Podcast Downloads To Mobiles

SeattleTimes: [by James Pearce] Mobilcast LogoMelodeo has announced plans to offer free software to enable mobile users to download podcasts directly to their handsets (demo). There are other podcast-to-mobile software, but the ones I've seen go through the computer or are only available on one carrier. If I've missed one let me know...
The move is described as an "awareness drive", and is intended to get people used to downloading and listening to audio on their mobiles as well as to raise the profile of Melodeo's music service. The software will initially be available from the website in September for Symbian phones, with a Java version to follow soon after.
The article quotes IDC analyst David Linsalata as saying that most consumers don't know what operating system they have, and of course offering free content is a good way to encourage people to find out.
The whole idea is a pretty good one, using free content to promote paid services without cannibalising them and at the same time offering an incentive for people to work out how to use the advance functions of their handset -- people will normally do more to get free content than content they have to pay for. (via Ringtonia)
SeattlePI: Newly appointed CEO Jim Billmaier, who joined Melodeo last month after 10 years at Digeo and Asymetrix, said podcasting is a natural extension of the company's mobile music software. Up until now, Melodeo has focused on delivering full-length music tracks to wireless subscribers in Spain and Canada.
Related stories:
--Mobile P2P To Become Online's Asylum?
--Pod2Mob: Podcasts on Your Phone
--Mobilecast — Podcasts To Mobiles

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August 04, 2005

Yahoo Introduces Search Service for Music, Audio

Updated: read below: NYT: (reg. req.): Yahoo, which has been threatening to launch a music/audio search service for some time now, has finally launched it in beta: it claims can comb through 50 million music, voice and other audio files. It also supports podcast search.
Yahoo's music search service will let users find sites, news and photos of artists, as well as information about albums and songs.... The service will also display links to the competitor music sites where users can pay to download a song. Most major music sites (here's the complete list of competitors Yahoo is working with) have agreed to send Yahoo lists of their songs and pay a commission on every song sold. The current version of the service has no advertising, though that may come later.
Bunch of others are in the same field: Singingfish, Blinkx, and other audio and video search engines, though no one has this met-search-rev-share deal for music. The new new has a similar comparison shopping for online music, but it hasn't really caught on.
USA Today: Yahoo Audio will not include songs from file-sharing sites such as Kazaa and Grokster, which are often used to trade copyrighted music. If a record label complains about any song featured on the site, Yahoo Audio will take it off the list, says Technology Director Bradley Horowitz.
Updated: Yahoo is NOT the first one with such a meta-search and rev share service: San Francisco based GoFish Technologies has had a similar compare-and-buy service for some time now.

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July 28, 2005

Can Podcasts Infect Your Computer?

Not to make you panic or anything, but while reading a newsletter this morning I discovered from a Windows expert that playing a downloaded audio file or short video clip (i.e., Podcast) on your PC could actually infect your computer with a virus or spyware. I'd heard about this before, but never got any of the details...The truth is, some 'Podcatching' applications might be downloading executable files without your knowledge or consent. When run, these executables would play ordinary audio or video files. But, silently, they would install a Trojan horse that would run or download further adware or spyware slowing your machine down. So, despite all the rage and hoopla - podcasts threaten to become another automated way hackers can put viruses and spyware onto our computers if we're not more careful. To make podcasts safer, software developers must enforce a separation of code and data and Podcasts must not be allowed to run scripts on our computers or install executable files, etc.. (As far as I know, no reports of malicious podcasts have been reported yet, but it's not too late for developers to build in more safety into this exciting new technology. With a few simple steps, we can protect ourselves..)

The weak link in protecting users is generally not the podcatchers but the media players themselves. Windows Media Player, iTunes, Quicktime, RealNetworks, and WinAmp have all suffered from serious security holes in the past...As a result, podcatching applications might download "malformed" or hacked multimedia files and the files would appear normal, bearing a typical audio or video extension. But, when played back, these same files could exploit security weaknesses in our media players - especially if you haven't upgraded recently...Those weaknesses then could allow the hacked files to quietly install Trojans,  worms or worse... Your best protection against podcasts that are executable files is to get a podcatcher app that downloads only known multimedia file types. (For example, FeedStation limits its downloads to a list of expected extensions, such as .mp3 and .wmv. Therefore, users are protected by default against rogue files disguised as podcasts!)

These known media player weaknesses have allowed multimedia files to quietly install malware, while the user sees or hears only the expected video or audio clip. Millions of PC users have already been negatively affected by malicious media files that were downloaded manually. It's important to prevent podcasts from being able to automatically exploit media players in the same way...

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July 22, 2005

The Podcast as a New Podium

nytimes: "Producing downloadable audio shows - getting around copyright obstacles with music, creating syndicated content that suits a subscription model of delivery, possibly introducing video - poses fascinating questions that obsess podcasters..."

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July 20, 2005

Sonos Update Adds Support for Podcasting

ecoustics: Sonos released Version 1.2 today, which includes a Desktop Controller for the Mac, giving users full control over the Sonos Digital Music System from a Mac desktop - compatible with Apple Mac OSX 10.3 and 10.4. The software update also adds support for the latest Apple iTunes 4.9 release, allowing iTunes users to access their music collections, podcasts and iTunes playlists on the Sonos system. Support for Windows Media Audio (WMA) Internet radio stations is included as well...That all sounds cool to me....Now, if only they could get Apple to allow iTunes files encoded with Fairplay to play on the system too :)

"Sonos' mission is to bring the joy of multi-room digital music to as many people as possible," said John MacFarlane, CEO, Sonos, Inc. "With the additional control and content features we have introduced, more digital music lovers, including Mac users and Internet radio fans, can get the most out of their Sonos system."

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Podcasting Responsibly

Garagespin: Adam Curry, a/k/a the "Podfather" has launched a beta version of the PodSafe Music Network...Basically, it lets indie musicians easily submit their original music to the library (currently less than 800 tracks) and then participating podcasters can legally use any of the material without fear of getting sued...The Network even tracks plays or downloads (which can be used as leverage in future negotiations if significant) and also includes a 1-5 rating system for songs...In essence, the service gives podcasters a way to have royalty free music for their podcasts and is a great way to give added exposure to indy artists - hopefully driving future CD sales...(Thanks Michael!)

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July 15, 2005

Is Podcasting Really This Easy?

Yahoo: AP writer, Juliette Wallack, does a nice job here of explaining the basics of recording and uploading your own podcast.  Most people I talk to (many are obviously in the business) don't even know what the term is yet...Very soon however, after everyone  else catches on, the next trick will be to monetize the process or content being given away.  But for now, I can't think of a better (i.e., inexpensive) way for content owners to advertise their product or service inside these free audio downloads. By giving away free content that has some type of value, podcasters automatically capture listeners, or better yet, potential customers...

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July 13, 2005

Podcasting Grows Up Fast

USAToday: Now that iTunes has added support for Podcasting, mainstream media companies are slowly starting to dominate podcasts. That's a huge break from the norm, because until recently - podcasts were largely pirate-radio-style broadcasts, often produced by one person on a home PC. Now, podcasts are being anchored by celebrities as Rush Limbaugh and Ted Koppel. Podcasting "went from underground to mainstream overnight," says Ted Schadler, digital media analyst at Forrester Research. However, "Apple and the mainstream media are making a monumental mistake," says Richard Bluestein, who podcasts on They're "repackaging the same boring, heartless and anti-human garbage" instead of focusing on alternative programs...The article highlights the conflict between big and small podcasters that is expected to intensify as interest grows in advertising and subscription fees...RAIN has some more on it HERE...

--Podcasts Get iTunes Stamp of Approval

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