Yahoo! has decided to try to break into the podcasting arena. Apparently you can even use their Yahoo! Music Engine to download and listen to podcasts, at least if you are using Windows XP. The website looks nice, I’ll have to check it out further when time permits.
I just checked my latest Libsyn Stats and downloads are through the roof. I am getting reports that sites like Dawn and Drew are down, servers have melted all over the podcasting sphere. Thus far this site which is hosted on a GoDaddy server has kept up and we have seen over 300,000 individual hits to this site alone today.
I know that at least 6500 people on iTunes have downloaded the newest show so this is significant traffic. Be patient with the downloads as servers are getting hammered worldwide.
I’ve been hammered too. 17 people used iTunes to download brainwagon radio in the last 24 hours! Woohoo! Let the pidgeons loose!
Everybody else seems to be yapping about it: got to apple.com and get your fresh tasty new iTunes, complete with support for podcast subscriptions. I didn’t have a chance to install it yet, but will tonight.
Take a look at their announcement, especially concentrating on the What is Gnomedex… section.
Someone, please, explain it to me. Why is Gnomedex significant?
Useful link: Technorati: gnomedex2005
Addendum: Just what here requires a license at all, much less a Creative Commons License? We don’t need licenses for other data formats like HTML.
Every once in a while, you read something that makes you just shake your head. Dave Slusher mentioned David Coursey’s anti-podcasting article. I’m not so opposed to his opinions on the grounds that he’s a knee-jerk-off (although he does seem to fit the description) but rather from the simple fact he’s hopelessly off target in his criticism.
If you go and spend a few minutes reading his article, you’ll find that he’s really all over the map. First off, he begins with a rant about iTunes and iTunes Radio Stations. What this has to do with podcasting is anyone’s guess, but he goes off four the first four paragraphs about it, so he must really have felt it was worth saying, given that he introduces his article with it.
And then drops the topic entirely.
He then accidently strays into something which I actually think is likely to be the truth:
Over time, I expect the “most listened to” Podcasts will be products of existing media companies that use Podcasts as a means of repurposing content.
While I don’t think this is entirely correct, it doesn’t immediatey fail the sniff test. After all, existing media companies do possess large libraries of licensed and copyrighted content that they can draw on which are unavailable or expensive for others to acquire. Even independents will be tempted to adopt the trappings of traditional media companies as they grow in popularity, so the “successes” in podcasting will likely be less different from big media than you otherwise might imagine.
That is, of course, if you are looking at the most popular end of the curve. The question is really what happens in the Long Tail.
The existing media industry works really well at the big end: selling hundreds of thousands to millions of units of works. It basically has no real coherent strategy for creating and distributing content to a few hundred to a few thousand individuals. It is in this end that I think that unconventional business plans and to a certain extent, just creating media for its own sake will rule the day. Ordinary media outlets will find it difficult to adapt their business to operate in this more rarified environment, but that doesn’t mean that we won’t find players in this arena. After all, the barriers to entry and the risks are signficantly lower than trying to follow the traditional path to wide media distribution, even if the payoff is somewhat more limited.
Coursey then strays off into what I think is really a short sighted argument:
Personal Podcasting, like personal blogs, is a fad and will fade. Just like personal sites were a fad in the early days of the Web. People experiment because content creation can be fun, sort of like finger-painting was back in preschool, but people also run out of creative energy, and the maintenance of a site, blog or Podcast becomes a chore. And the content gets boring, and the audience goes away.
First, I don’t know what Internet Coursey is using, but I’m baffled why he thinks that personal websites have gone away. The Internet is chock-a-block full of them: we call them “blogs” and everyone seems to have one these days. Yes, many of them peter out because they do become chores for people, but for many, they are not chores: they are significant outlets for personal creation and expression. I suspect the same will be true of podcasting.
He goes on:
Pioneer Webmasters quickly found that creating an interesting Web site required more art and photography skills than most of them possessed. They also learned that creating and maintaining an interesting site was a lot of work, with little reward.
I must admit, I do spend a fair amount of time each day working on my website: gathering content, tweaking software, uploading digital photographs and the like. But to me it’s fun. Interesting. Even exciting at times. Would it be cool if I got hundreds of emails or comments each day? Maybe. But even with my modest level of success, I consider it fun, not a chore. It’s just part of what I do.
Coursey closes with this gem:
I’ve been in the media all my professional life and have spent years trying to understand audience behavior. I can’t always tell what the masses will like, but I am pretty good at calling losers. And as a mass medium, Podcasting will be one of them.
Allow me to use the Brainwagon Universal Translator:
UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR ENGAGED
TRUST ME, I AM GETTING PAID TO WRITE, SO I MUST KNOW WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. THE EXISTENCE OF A MEDIA WHERE INDIVIDUALS ARE GRANTED THE SAME PRESTIGE THAT I ENJOY SIMPLY CANNOT BE TOLERATED.
THESE ARE NOT THE DROIDS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR.
DISENGAGE UNIVERSAL TRANSLATOR
Your Jedi mind tricks won’t work on me, old man.
A bonus podcast, relating mostly why I’m neither excited nor dismayed by commercial podcasting ventures. Just a short one piggybacking on my previous one.
Where your host finally gets around to recording another podcast detailing his brief weekend trip to Reno. Find out what sports book kind of blows, which ones are okay, and what hotel had rooms overlooking the scenic air conditioner on the roof. You can also find out what I’m doing this weekend and what I had for breakfast.
The more things change, the more things stay the same, and the snake continues to eat its tail.
Dave Slusher expressed a certain disgruntlement with KYOURadio, a commercial venture that would air podcasts produced by amateurs over the contentional radio spectrum. I wonder how he would react to the news that PodFather Adam Curry is poised to do precisely the same thing:
Mr. Curry will help choose material for “Adam Curry’s PodShow” from some of the thousands of amateur shows produced in basements, living rooms and dormitories. Sirius subscribers, who pay $12.95 a month for the service, can listen to the show on channel 148, “Talk Central.”
More and more, the new revolutionary medium seems to be led by those who are intent on just rebuilding the same media over and over again. In Adam’s case, even the face is the same.
I’m freshly back from a whirlwind trip to Reno to scout locations for my father-in-law’s 80th birthday party, and I’m going to be tied up with SIGGRAPH sketch jury duty through next weekend, and the following weekend I’ll be trying to paint my garage door and run (or more realistically, walk) the Bay To Breakers. Busy busy busy, and I haven’t been able to get to recording a podcast in a while already.
I’ll see what I can do short of popping amphetamines, but likely the blog will take back seat for the next two weeks.
Infinity Broadcasting on Wednesday said one of its San Francisco radio stations will carry programming created exclusively by listeners using podcasting technology.
I wonder what this will be like.
Some people don’t seem to like the idea:
What an uncompelling proposition for me and any other podcaster. In fact, I urge everyone to not participate unless or until there is something in it for you. Otherwise this is just a Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence stratagem, trying to trick you into to doing their work for them for free.
I’m confused. Podcasting is fun, not work. If you take yourself too seriously, it seems to be easy to forget that.
Wired has more details.
One of the things that draws me to blogging and podcast (and which I mention from time to time) is that it allows individuals to participate in the creation of culture as well as its consumption. That’s why I’m keeping my eye on DTV and Broadcast machine from participatoryculture.org. Cool!
As a public service, I thought that this might be of interest: a Python program to load your iPod Shuffle.
While driving home today, I flipped on KQED, our local NPR affiliate and heard a voice I’m rather accustomed to hearing: the director of The Incredibles, Brad Bird. I get quite a few requests about what it’s like to work at Pixar, and you could do a lot worse than hearing it from Brad’s mouth. He’s a phenomenal director, and really knows his stuff. Check out the audio link on NPR’s website.