podcasting from scratch
September 1, 2008 8:31 AM   Subscribe

I would like to create a podcast that involves me playing music (mp3s) and talking about it. One minor problem: I know absolutely nothing about podcasts.

I really miss being a college DJ, I've got a huge music collection and plenty to say about it. I've often toyed with the idea of convincing one of the local college stations to give me a show (I know several people involved with them socially). But then I figured, what about these newfangled podcasts the kids are talking about?? I'm not interested in just playing a bunch of stuff I like, I plan on theme shows with historical/educational info to go along with the music.

So many questions! What kind of software do I use? (right now I have soundforge, which I've been using to transfer some of my rare vinyl to mp3, and magix. Either of these useful at all?). What kind of microphone do I need? I'm capable but not enthusiastic about learning new software, I'd rather have something simple to learn & basic than something hard to learn with lots of cool extra features (unless, of course, they're REALLY REALLY cool).

Do I create a blog to give them exposure? are there "podcast blogs" where people can post comments/questions on the podcasts? Is there free hosting, or better hosting that is worth paying for?

Are there already thousands of people doing this? If so, what podcasts should I be listening to get a good idea of what works? How do I get exposure? Are there legal questions regarding copyrights I have to address?
posted by the bricabrac man to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
First up, all your music needs to be podsafe, meaning the copyright holders have explicitly licensed it for free download, or it has fallen out of copyright, because you are offering saveable downloads (i.e. mp3s).

Your idea is kind of a bust unless you have those permissions or are doing shows with music like the sort distributed on the podsafe music network, which is all, by definition, podsafe.

That said, you could go ahead and try it, but most ISPs will pull your stuff pretty fast if they get a takedown notice.
posted by Happy Dave at 9:03 AM on September 1, 2008

Crap, sorry, here's the link to the FAQ.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:34 AM on September 1, 2008

Response by poster: ah, well....I suspected this might be the case, but thanks for the info & links.
posted by the bricabrac man at 10:48 AM on September 1, 2008

I use Liberated Syndication to host my video blog Days Off. It offers a simple means of managing an audio/video podcast and blog with unlimited storage and transfer in case your blog becomes wildly popular. I think it costs something like $10/month. There may be some comparable free offerings out there, but I've been very happy with this one, and it makes posting a new episode as easy as entering a title and description on a form and uploading the video (or MP3) file. It allows you to view your download stats and has some other nice features thrown in as well.
posted by itstheclamsname at 10:56 AM on September 1, 2008

Happy Dave,

I'm curious where you got this info from:

First up, all your music needs to be podsafe, meaning the copyright holders have explicitly licensed it for free download, or it has fallen out of copyright, because you are offering saveable downloads (i.e. mp3s).

I'm not disputing it and I'm sure it's technically true, but how likely is it that the copyright holders would come down hard on somebody just doing something for fun with no intention of profit? (ie: is this something you've had negative experience with?)
posted by philip-random at 12:02 PM on September 1, 2008

No personal experience, but I've been tangentially involved with the Open Rights Group in the UK, and both the RIAA in the US and the BPI in the UK have erred on the side of the draconian when it comes to enforcing copyright law. Remember, it is rarely the individual artist who would be going after copyright claims, but the attack dog lawyers paid up by the thuggish RIAA, BPI and the big music publishers.

More here from a UK perspective. I personally think copyright law is broken as it stands, and that the 'pay us twenty grand for torrenting a Take That album or we'll sue you into space' tactics are both reprehensible and really bad for the industry, but you really don't want to be a test case in one of these things unless you have the resources and inclination to make a fight of it. One person's 'something for fun' becomes serious legal strife the moment it appears online.

In the meantime, I'm sure the OP can have a go at podcasting using podsafe music - for example, I listen to Dave's Lounge, which has become an amazing source of new music for me, precisely because the musicians featured have rejected traditional record labels and publicise their music through the web. And arguably, there might be a lot of room for creative treatments of new music that you might not get by doing a podcast of previously released, copyrighted music - the downside to people releasing stuff on the web is that there is no immediately obvious equivalent of the record company A&R man, filtering the wheat from the chaff - podcasters fill at least some of that void, and bring us the really good stuff.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:00 PM on September 1, 2008

For editing, a professional podcaster recommended Audacity to me, which is free. Although, make sure you save often as it has a tendency to crash!

And here is a guide to podcasting.

We bought a professional recording device and microphone, and while they weren't cheap, the difference in quality is incredible (compared to the kind of digi recorder you might use for lectures). The one we use records in WAV, which is lossless, although this format uses a lot more memory.
posted by Jacqulyn at 2:17 PM on September 1, 2008

If you think you will do this for a while, and are willing to put a little bit of money into it, I would suggest picking up either a Shure SM7 (not 57) or RE20 microphone. These are the mics that many radio DJ's use, and you will get that "sound" that you don't get with other mics. They are several hundred bucks, though, so if you don't think this is going to be a long term thing you may be better off with something cheap until you get a feel for it.
posted by markblasco at 7:58 PM on September 1, 2008

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