Over the weekend I read a pretty interesting article on AP News. The basis of the article was about how the invention of the blog brought a new way of generating and gathering news in the online world. All of a sudden anyone and everyone is given free range with the First Amendment, for better or for worse. With this comes added responsibility and new technology. One of these new technologies that have sprung up as a result is podcasting, something that most everyone is familiar with. Everyone from NPR to Disney and Newsweek is offering the new technology, and Apple is leading the way with making it easy to find and download the programs. As a result, the industry is trying not to make the same mistake as in the past.
The main problem that these industry types are worried about is podcasting rights. As of right now most of the podcasts out there are mostly talk. Music licensing is making it extremely difficult to legally include songs in the audio files. Until people come to an agreement on this podcasting isn’t likely to become totally mainstream. AP News reports, "There is no easy way to license music legally for podcasts," says Fred von Lohmann, an attorney for the online civil liberties group Electronic Frontier Foundation. "You have to clear the rights one song at a time from record labels and artists and that's a painful process." As of right now NPR is negotiating a deal with the music industry for podcasting rights. This would mean great news in the development of podcasts with possible music selections. If their deal goes through it might also open up the doors for other music podcasts such as KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic.
Licensing is not the only concern out there. As tens of thousands of podcasts keep popping up a lot of companies are trying to take hold of this new technology and find out how they can bring it to the forefront. That being said, a big problem right now is locating these podcasts. There are a few places to go if you are trying to find the podcast that is right for you. One is Odeo.com, a new startup that creates directories of podcasts for downloading. A few more include Apple, and Podcastalley.com and Podcast.net.
While at times it is exciting (and sometimes frustrating), it would be amazing to see agreements made on this issue. The revenue from ad sales, and the exposure / promotion that artists could receive would be massive. We all know the rants on how terrestrial radio is dead. What better time than now for something like this to happen? So until an agreement is made I guess I will go back to listening to my iPod on shuffle and Noncommercial radio online.