Thursday, January 04, 2007

Major Label Misperception

Ethan Smith's recent article in the Wall Street Journal (Music Industry Changes Its Tune on Podcasting) talks about the major labels' first tentative steps towards licensing music for podcasts. I have no gripe with the primary point of the piece. As Mr. Smith accurately points out,
"…podcasts have been blocked from using [major label] music, at least legitimately. That has stopped music-oriented radio programming from being available as podcasts."
A casual reader could easily interpret this to mean that there is no legal music podcasting available. I did the first time I read it, and judging by the commentary rocketing around the Internet, so did many others. It is true that you can't use major label music in podcasts –- which has been a godsend for independent artists and labels.

Even if I wanted to, I couldn't possibly list all the independent music podcasts available. Some of them sound just like radio shows; some sound better. Any kind of genre you can think of is being offered, and there are some damn fine artists waiting for you to discover them.

The BBC even has a podcast devoted to indie artists. "The Best of Unsigned" has the host of their Unsigned show, Huw Stephens, interviewing acts and showcasing their recordings –- just like he does on the radio.

I've been listening to fantastic music podcasts for almost two years now, and have discovered several really great artists. I also expanded my record collection in the process, gladly purchasing CDs knowing that most –- rather than 12% -- of the money went straight to the deserving artist.

Don't know where to start? Below are some recommendations, but that's only the beginning. The majors may control of 75% of the music recorded, but there are still thousands of great artists and tens of thousands of killer tracks waiting for you to discover in the remaining 25%. C'mon, there's more to music than Fergie, American Idol winners and Il Divo.

After you've explored a while, post a comment and let us know what you've found.

- Ralph

Association of Music Podcasting – an international association of over 50 music podcasters.

Podcasting News Music Podcast Directory – over 2,000 different music podcasts categorized by genre.

Podcast Directory
– 50 musical categories to choose from. There's 75 music podcasts in "Classical" alone (including the DCD Classical Cast).

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