If you aren’t familiar with the term Podsafe Music refers to music that the artists have given permission for podcasters to use free of charge. For the most part podsafe music does not include anything from the major record labels that has sold in any significant numbers. So far the record labels have steadfastly refused to let podcasters play any of their music with out paying outrageous license fees. Considering that the vast majority of podcasters have little or no revenue related to the podcast this quite unreasonable. So podcasters who want to play music such as my 11 year old son Max have taken to discovering new bands to play that actually want to be heard by more people and thus sell more music and and stuff. In the past this could be a really difficult thing to do. In the past couple of years some new on-line services have made this a much easier proposition. First, sites like Garageband.com and Myspace.com made finding music a lot easier, but getting permission was still a pain. You still had to contact each artist individually, to get permission.
About a year ago PodShow rolled out something called the podsafe music network. This was a brilliant move. What they did was create a site where any musician can upload their music, and add a bio, genre, links to band websites, contact info etc. They also give permission for podcasters use the music in podcasts. Anyone who has recorded some music can put up their music. If you have recorded anything that is any good, go ahead and upload it, and if people like it you will get heard. Podcasters can register for the PMN and when they do they can browse the library for music, search for artists, and even search by the artists influences. Podcasters can preview the songs on-line, and then click to add the songs to a playlist they create on the site. When they are ready they can click and download the mp3 files for the songs they want to play. After they are done recording and publishing their show, they go back to the PMN playlist, and click on the “report when played” button. This will send an e-mail to the artist and let them know that a podcast has played their music. The artist’s page then shows a list of what podcasts have played their music. The podcasters can then use this to check out other podcasts that have played the music they like and see what else they are playing. This makes a great way to discover more new music.
Podcast listeners can also use this feature as a way to find new podcasts to listen to as well as new music. If you go to a podcasters page you can see the music they have played and follow the links to the artists page and then to the other podcasters that are playing that music. Max has been using the PMN to find the music he plays on the MewzikCast. It is a great way to discover new music and then spread the word to other listeners. Podshow is slowly rolling out the ability for for artists to make their songs available for sale on the network too. They are selling DRM-free mp3 songs for $0.99. Unlike iTunes where the labels get $0.65 and the musicians only get about $0.04 per song, here the artists get $0.90 which is the whole amount minus the transaction fee taken by the credit card processing company. This is a much better deal for musicians than radio and iTunes or Napster. And podcasters can spread the word about new music they are listening to without having to worry about the wrath of the RIAA. There are thousands of bands on the PMN now. There has been some controversy over some of Podshow’s actions over the past year and a half. I’m not going to get into that here. But one thing that Podshow has definitely done right is the Podsafe Music Network. Great work from Chris Rockwell, Sue Fleming, CC Chapman, Michael Butler and everyone else at the PMN.