Just updated iTunes to 4.9 so I could see how they handled Podcasts. As you can see in this image, they’ve had to shoehorn Podcasts into the iTunes store, with some significant UI lameitude (e.g. a currently-playing podcast will stop playing if you leave its page). That said, I find this implementation much more compelling (for music) than a web-based format like ODEO. I want to prefer the latter, but having the Podcasts accessible via iTunes is far better for the key scenario in my life called “listening to music at work.” The bad news, though, is that iTunes does almost nothing to help me separate the good from the bad. And in a Long Tail situation like this, it’s all about the finding. I’m thinking that’s where ODEO will really shine.

Note to podcast software designers: I don’t want to manage subscriptions. And please remember that the basic podcast mechanism (download a file onto a device) is a temporary hack, not a feature.

So, now that ODEO is in beta, I’m sure they’ll be getting lots of nice attention. They’ve done a really lovely job with the interface, channeling flickr (down to the tone of voice) while bringing some graphic sexiness to the UI. And, given how frothy everyone seems to be about podcasting, I guess they’ll make tons of money and be a big success and, like, you know, totally change the radio industry, or whatever.

But (you knew there was a but)… I still don’t get it. I just don’t see the appeal of listening to someone monologue at me through my iPod. If I wanted that, I wouldn’t have earphones on in the first place. Of course, I can think of things I would like to listen to in theory, but there’s just so little time in my life where I can picture sitting and paying attention to a podcast. Note to self: get a crappy job with a long commute.

Or, perhaps I’m just not getting it… anyone care to explain (um, without mentioning books on tape)?

Update: I guess I understand the theoretical coolness of time-shifting quality audio content. I think the part I don’t get is the way it works currently: downloading amateur-hour to my iPod; I think it’s all the explanations of podcasting as “like blogs, but, like, with audio.” I will try to be patient with it. I’ll give it a try on the 10-hour flight back from London.

Rockstar Games recently launched the Beaterator, a hecka cool Flash sequencer that lets you create beats using provided loops and sounds (or you can upload your own!) and then save ‘em as MP3s. Do that in your precious XHTML + CSS! (Just kidding Jeff, you make many excellent points in that post.)

Don’t ask me why, but downloading music from the command line feels “safer” somehow.

Opsound is a record label using an open source, copyleft model, an experiment in practical gift economics, a laboratory for new ways of releasing music.” (thanks kcole)

So, I’ve just bought and downloaded my first album online via Apples new music store. I’m sure it ain’t perfect, but it’s the closest I’ve seen to a model that might actually work. First of all it was freakishly easy to use. I opened iTunes, clicked the “Music Store” item, typed in a search query, previewed a song (all songs have high-quality 30-second previews), and clicked “Buy Album.” Maybe 10 minutes later the album was on my computer. But the important part is that I can burn copies onto CD (to take in my car, to backup, etc), and the price is more or less reasonable (I think $0.99 is a bit steep for one song, but they discount the album price, so most albums are $10-12, i.e. less than you’d pay at Tower Records who must be fairly terrified these days). In short, it’s easy and cheap enough, and the restrictions on use are mellow enough, that I’d rather get my music this way than by hunting for pirated copies on LimeWire. My biggest worry now is self-control.

E-Music Sites Settle on Prices. It’s a Start.

"If all the consumers who pirate tracks today bought them for a buck, that would be a $5 billion a month business," Mr. Rose said, noting that that is twice the size of the music industry today.

Doesn’t that kinda suggest they should be charging 50 cents?

A lovely piece from the BBC: The Noisy Planet It’s easy to forget how satisfying strong content is. In all the talk of Flash as an application platform, I think people forget that it’s also a superior content platform to HTML.

quiet american

Quiet American is the manipulation of sounds I [er, not me, but him -ns] hear and record. The project began as I grappled with what it meant to be a tourist in another culture. It continues as I grapple with what it means to be a tourist in my own. The work on this site is not a replacement for travel. But if you are willing to listen, you may be transported.

Merriam-Webster now has audio clips for pronunciation.. I just learned that while you can say either “tom-ay-to” or “to-mah-to”, you darn well can’t say “po-tah-to.” Very cool use of audio. (via currentform)

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