Thursday, December 01, 2005

Today we launched, a free service that makes it easy for any person to create, host, and share their own podcast. During our beta period, thousands of real people have already made a diversity of creations:
- Kingsley's Corner - a UK commercial radio DJ, finally free to create the show he always wanted
- Poopcast - a certain proud parent recording audio snapshots by phone
- Anne Heaton - a touring singer-songwriter leaving voice messages from the road
- Guess Who's Coming - questions answered by a sex-advice author

....and, as of today:
- ONE Campaign - Bono, Nelson Mandela, Chris Martin of Coldplay, & more asking you to join the fight against AIDS and poverty. Today is World AIDS Day, and we chose to launch today in partnership with an organization commited to eradicating AIDS and poverty in our lifetime.

Visit the podcasters' websites to listen. Read the full press releases below.


MEDIA ADVISORY Contact: Meighan Stone, ONE Campaign
November 29, 2005 Phone: (202) 464-1345


First ONE.ORG Podcast with Bono of U2 and President Nelson Mandela
to launch on World AIDS Day

WASHINGTON, DC-- On December 1st, ONE: The Campaign to Make Poverty History will join with to launch the first ONE.ORG podcast. The World AIDS Day podcast will feature Bono, U2 lead singer and co-founder of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade for Africa), former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela and Chris Martin of Coldplay, along with Christian music artists and other ONE supporters.
A podcast is an audio recording, from a 10-sec sound to a 30-min radio show, stored as an MP3 file that is easily downloadable through the internet. In addition to being provided to the 2 million current ONE supporters, the podcast will also be available for free on the website.
Every day in Africa, HIV/AIDS kills 6,300 people, 8,500 people are infected with the HIV virus and 1,400 newborn babies are infected during childbirth. New web technologies such as podcasting can help Americans raise their voices as ONE against the emergency of AIDS and extreme poverty, joining together to ask leaders to do more to save millions of lives in the poorest countries.

WHAT: World AIDS Day ONE Campaign podcast

WHO: Bono, U2 lead singer and co-founder of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade for Africa)
Former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela
Chris Martin, lead singer of Coldplay
Christian music artists and other ONE supporters

WHEN: 12:01am, World AIDS Day, December 1, 2005



Media Contact:
Brooke Hammerling


World’s First Turnkey Service for Consumers to Create and Publish Their Own Podcasts

SAN FRANCISCO, NOVEMBER 30, 2005 – Gcast (, a groundbreaking new service that breaks the podcasting process down into a few easy-to-follow steps, was officially unveiled today. Gcast, a sister service to, enables anyone to create, publish, and share their own podcast, all for free.

Podcasting lets people get their voices heard, whether they’re recording an audio journal for friends and family, or sharing a playlist of their favorite new music. Thanks to Gcast, podcasts can now be made by anyone for anyone.

Gcast offers unlimited free hosting to all podcasters, as well as integrated access to the world’s leading podsafe music catalog. Gcast also enables anybody to record updates to their podcast via telephone calls, making podcasting even easier than sending email.

“Our original vision with has always been to democratize the music industry by empowering musicians,” said Ali Partovi, CEO of and Gcast. “However, our broader vision with Gcast is to democratize the broader media industry. By embracing user-generated content of all kinds, we are making personal broadcasting a reality.”


While there are other early services for podcasters, Gcast is the only solution that offers free hosting as well as easy access to the world’s largest library of podsafe music. Full Gcast features include:

• Free Hosting – Gcast offers free hosting to anybody who creates a podcast, currently with no limits on media storage. Gcast hopes to support this service with advertising, and will offer ad-free paid options in the future.

• Online Playlist Manger that auto-generates your podcast -- Gcast lets users point and click to organize and mix audio from a range of sources -- whether a phone recording, a song, or an MP3 from their computer. Once a playlist is ready to be published, Gcast mixes the audio into one continuous MP3 file and transparently generates the RSS feed for the podcast.

• Podcasting by phone – Gcast introduces the easiest way to record a podcast. Podcasters can call 1-888-65-GCAST, enter a numeric ID and PIN code, and start recording, just like leaving a voicemail. Recordings can be published immediately from the phone, or can be saved to their Gcast account to be published later.

• Integrated access to the world’s leading podsafe music catalog, For podcasters that wish to include music in their podcast, Gcast eliminates one of the primary obstacles -- securing the necessary licenses from the copyright holders. Gcast is integrated with, the leading provider of music for podcasting, so that podcasters can add music to their playlists with just one click.

• Ability to embed podcasts into any Web page for easy playback -- The Gcast player can be embedded into any web page or blog, giving instant listening gratification to anybody with a web browser. Fans can also check out past episodes and subscribe to receive future episodes automatically.

"By enabling anybody to get their voice heard, Gcast opens a vast new frontier for personal broadcasting," said Bob Kingsley, a former UK-based radio DJ whose podcast, Kingsley's Corner, is now available at and major podcast directories. "I dropped out of commercial radio some years ago because I was increasingly frustrated by the creative restrictions that seemed to accompany it. All I ever really wanted to do was to play my personal choice of good music, have a chat about it, and give it the respect it deserves. Thanks to the Internet,, and Gcast, I can do exactly that, freed from those old creative restrictions."

Friday, September 30, 2005

Happy Birthday GarageBand! Today is the six year anniversary of the domain. Not bad for a career in music, huh!? Anyway, here's a little blast from the past for all you long time fans...a screenshot of an early homepage.

and a copy of the press release. What's perhaps most remarkable is that, except for the $250K contracts, all the ideas laid out in this press release have come to fruition.

September 30, 1999

RECORD PRODUCER JERRY HARRISON (Talking Heads) JOINS FORCES WITH TECHNOLOGY PIONEER AND FORMER NETSCAPE EXECUTIVE TO LAUNCH GARAGEBAND.COM Empowers Music-Makers, Enthusiasts To Identify Best Of The Emerging Bands; Hottest Bands To Be Offered $250,000 Recording Contracts And Will Be Produced By Proven Music Industry Pros.

San Francisco, C.A. -- Sept.30, 1999 --, the only Internet site created by musicians for musicians and dedicated music fans, was officially launched today. Its goal is to identify, cultivate and sign the best of the emerging bands, especially those that too often fall beneath the radar screen because they are in towns and cities that are not media centers. Top bands will receive $250,000 recording contracts and will be matched with proven producers and other music industry professionals.

The announcement was made jointly by garageband's three co-founders: Jerry Harrison, record producer and former member of the rock band, Talking Heads; Tom Zito, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, and Dr. Amanda Lathroum Welsh, former head of research for Netcenter, a division of Netscape Communications and designer of garageband's proprietary LCE rating and review method which determines which bands will be signed.

Unlike other music websites which concentrate on the distribution and delivery of music, is focussing on the content side, that is identifying the best of the emerging musical talent based on the ratings and reviews of other musicians and avid music listeners. Said Tom Zito, Chairman and CEO of, "For most new bands out there it's virtually impossible to get through the doors of the record companies and they can't afford to give their music away on the Internet. The best of them do have hit record potential and we want to uncover these talented groups and give them a genuine shot at the success that they deserve. Because it takes talent to recognize talent, we are placing the decision-making power with those most qualified to exercise it, the music-makers themselves." is inviting aspiring musicians in rock/pop, alternative, urban/hip-hop, electronica/dance, R&B and other genres to upload their music onto the site where it will be reviewed and rated by their music peers, using's proprietary ratings engine. Bands can upload as many songs as they wish at no charge, but in order to do so, they must first review and rate at least two randomly selected and anonymously assigned tracks that have been submitted by other bands. Music lovers are also invited to be part of the intelligent process for determining which bands they want to be recorded. Bands that receive the best ratings then advance to round two for a "virtual battle of the bands."

Starting in November, and on a monthly basis beginning next year, top-rated bands will be awarded $250,000 recording contracts and be paired with top-tier record producers and other respected music industry professionals who have agreed to join's Advisory Board. In order to expose every band's music to as many qualified reviewers as possible, has designed a "Frequent Reviewer" Points program with rewards ranging from time in a world-class recording studio for bands, to VIP concert tickets for fans.

Great care has gone into designing a rating system that recognizes the quality of the music, not just the quantity of the votes, thereby eliminating the risk of "ballot box stuffing." Known as the LCE, (Lathroum Comparater Engine) this proprietary rating system was co-developed by Amanda Lathroum Welsh, Ph.D., co-founder and president of, and three of her senior engineers. The LCE system is based on a range of measurement comparisons which are designed to eliminate the bias and lack of context that can skew other comparative rating methods.

Said Jerry Harrison, whose successful career as a musician and record producer spans some thirty years and who formed his first band as a teenager in his hometown of Milwaukee, " is a groundbreaking concept in the music business because it offers every group an equal opportunity to be discovered -- not just those playing in the big cities.

"But is also about creating an Internet community for musicians so that, from across the country and around the world, they can communicate with each other and with industry professionals to help them develop their music and their careers. For the music industry, we want to be the premier A&R Internet site, both by identifying hot new artists to sign and promote and also by developing and nurturing those promising new bands that are not quite ready to head into the studio to cut their first album." has drawn together an Advisory Board for its virtual community comprising a broad range of respected music industry creatives and professionals. It currently includes Jim Dickinson (musician/producer), Dave Jerden (recording engineer), Paul Kolderie and Sean Slade (producers and mixers), Stephen Hague (producer/mixer), Ed Stasium (producer/engineer), Clive Langer and Alan Winstanley (producers), Nick Launay (producer), Tim Palmer (mixer/producer), Rick Nowels (songwriter/guitarist/producer), Dave Way (engineer/mixer), Mathew Wilder (composer/artist/producer) and Stephen Lironi (producer). Other names will be announced shortly.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

I just wanted to expand a little on the quote from me in the San Antonio Express-News, "The most exciting thing about the promotion is that this great music is going to be exposed to such a wide range of people(emphasis mine)." I should have said, "the most exciting thing about the promotion is that this great music is going to be exposed to a wider audience".

Why is this so exciting? It's exciting because this is the first time that the programming decision of a major media outlet has been made by democratic means. For years now, "this great music" selected by the people for the people, has been kept in the walled garden of Now these exceptionally cultivated flowers have been unleashed on the fields of the world. It's exciting because "this great music" will lead people to learn the startling fact that "this great music" isn't backed by a record label but chosen by a huge community of music lovers that they can join. How do you think they are going to feel now that they can participate in the creation of culture? Paradigm shifted? Empowered? Reconnected? I think so.

And that's just a start. What do you think will happen when the people are able to determine what gets on the radio? More on that later...

Friday, July 08, 2005

My response to Mark Cuban's thoughts on Podcasting

Even though you may not guess it from the comments so far, Mark’s cautionary tale was meant for a specific audience: the individual podcaster. It's good wisdom from the blogsphere to the emerging podsphere (podcastersphere?, podwaves?, pod-people-invasion?), about the current state of affairs in long-tail digital media. And as such, he was careful to exclude extensions of other media into podcasting (radio shows, conferences, etc.) and the business of providing podcasting infrastructure. Restated in my words, he said, “podcast for the love of podcasting, not because you are hoping to make a buck off it.”

Still, equating streaming radio with podcasting is like equating Geocities with Blogger. On the surface they accomplish the same result. Deeper down the creation and consumption experiences differ in significant ways, many of which have already been noted in other comments. It was pretty clear from the start that streaming radio had limited capacity for change, because while it freed creators, it shackled consumers (to their computers) and adoption depended major technological developments taking place. Ultimately we're just not in the habit of embracing inconvenient media platforms, even when the content may be better (sorry Dan & Scott).

While it would be difficult to make a living off podcasting right now, it is too early to say that it could never be done. While streaming radio was hamstrung by limited technical adoption, podcasting has grown out of a consumption culture shift embodied in the iPod. Blogs, podcasts and RSS have changed how we *think* about digital media. In this sense, podcasting is more like cable TV. Sure, cable in the 80s offered more channels and greater freedom for creators - but c’mon, Springsteen told it straight, “57 channels (and nothing’s on).” Cable was adopted because it made watching the nightly news more convenient. Award-winning content like the Sopranos came much later.

All that said, the high quality of Kingsley’s Corner and the thousands of people listening to Coverville are nothing to snuff at. We should all hope a sustainable model emerges to support them.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Trent Renznor, the Grokster ruling, podcasting on iTunes - there is a lot that's happend recently that I should have written about, but alas there is a good reason I haven't. I've been planning my wedding :) Unfortunately I had limited time so I had to choose between accelerating the music paradigm shift and writing about it. I hope you think I made the right choice.

Don't worry though. The wedding is over and drought will end soon (not that I was the most prolific writer before). For now I invite you to check out my new podcast, created with (you guessed it) the GarageBand Podcast Studio.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Today we unveiled our take on a better way to fill the promotional gap in the music industry. It's been a long day, so I only have enough energy to post the press release right now.

GarageBand PODCAST STUDIO IS UNVEILED AS First CONSUMER ONLINE Tool to Record, Mix and Publish Podcasts

American Idol’s Bo Bice is Featured on First Track Ever Released
by a Major Artist for Podcasting

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – May 23, 2005 –, the leading independent music community, today announced “GarageBand Podcast Studio,” the world’s first Web-based tool to record, mix and publish a podcast. This new tool also offers consumers greater access to’s 40,000 active podcasts, which represents the world’s largest catalog of podcast-ready music. In conjunction with this launch, long-time member and American Idol finalist, Bo Bice, is featured on Papion, a new single now available through and the first track ever released by a major artist expressly for podcasting.

“We’re on the forefront of a wave that will make personal broadcasting a reality and redefine how music is discovered and promoted,” said Ali Partovi, CEO of “With the GarageBand Podcast Studio, we’re proud to cement our lead in the podcasting space, making us not only the #1 provider of music for podcasts and the #1 hosting service for podcasters, but also the first complete solution for recording, mixing and publishing your own podcast.”

To make podcasting accessible to everyone, GarageBand Podcast Studio offers innovative features to encourage mass adoption. For artists, GarageBand Podcast Studio provides a simple way to license and distribute their music to podcasters. For podcasters, recording, mixing and publishing become as easy as pointing and clicking. For subscribers and listeners, GarageBand Podcast Studio provides easier ways to access podcasts for free, without an iPod or special software.

“Speaking for Bo and the rest of the band, we’re delighted to share our music with the world via the podcasting community and the GarageBand Podcast Studio,” said John Cooper, bassist for Bo Bice & Sugar Money. “We’re especially grateful to the podcasters who have already added Papion to their stations. Podcasting is a natural online promotion channel for any musician, and I expect to see more major artists embracing it in the future.”

World’s largest catalog of podcast-ready music
Thanks to its award-winning charts and unique collaborative-filtering system, is widely recognized as the number one source of music for podcasting. With thousands of bands posting new music every day, hosts the world’s largest catalog of podcast-ready music, now enhanced with “one-click publishing” to add a track to your own podcast. This catalog includes Papion, the exclusive track written and composed by American Idol Bo Bice and his hometown band, Sugar Money. This new single is already one of’s most popular tracks, airing on podcasts and webcasts across the Internet. Within weeks of release, it reached number three on the Live365 Internet Radio Network’s “Top Sideloads” chart. Other top artists in the catalog include Jenna Drey, currently number 23 on the Billboard Radio Airplay chart, and Geoff Byrd, who was recently recognized by Live365 and Radiowave as Internet Radio’s Most Successful Unsigned Artist of the Year.

Record, Mix and Publish
The new GarageBand Podcast Studio is a simple but powerful tool that enables anybody to create a podcast. Users can upload their own recordings and mix them with music from the catalog using a point-and-click Playlist Manager. Once a new playlist is published, it is immediately available to listeners for streaming, download and subscription from’s servers. Hosting is free and intends to support the creativity of podcasters with advertising, as well as offer premium ad-free options in the future.

As a result of an innovative new service developed with Tellme Networks, the GarageBand Podcast Studio will soon feature a convenient option to record by phone. Podcasters can save their telephone recording for mixing later, or immediately publish their podcast by phone – without ever touching a computer! Recently-signed Geoff Byrd,’s top-rated artist of all time, intends to use this system to run a podcast-by-phone from his nationwide radio tour.

More accessible to listeners is bringing podcasting to the masses. While the penetration of iPods and special podcasting software continues to grow, now allows listeners to subscribe to their favorite shows with more familiar options, including MyYahoo, MyMSN and even email.

Now playing: over 40,000 active podcasts's existing catalog of user-created playlists is now available in the form of thousands of podcasts that any listener can subscribe to for free. Similarly, every band on the site now has a free podcast, where listeners can receive new songs (and other audio messages), gig listings, and news posted by the band. announced that 40,000 active podcasts are live today and more will be coming online in the near future. also plans to issue additional podcasts of its own, such as a "track-of-the-day" feed for each musical genre.


About ( is the world’s largest community for podcasting and independent music. Since 1999, twenty-one of its highest-ranking bands have been signed, including double-platinum recording artists Drowning Pool.’s top-rated artist of all time, Geoff Byrd, is rapidly becoming the first pop star born from the Internet. uses collaborative filtering to let ordinary people identify and promote the best songs, generating the definitive charts of independent music. Widely recognized as the ideal filter for emerging music, is the #1 provider of music for podcasting, with a growing network of radio partners in addition to the tens of thousands of people who host their own podcasts at

Recognized by Time Magazine as one of 2003’s “50 Best Websites,”’s mission is to redefine how music is discovered and promoted. is run by CEO Ali Partovi, whose previous startup, LinkExchange, was acquired for $265 million by Microsoft in 1998.

GarageBand is a registered trademark of The best of music is available for sale on the iTunes Music Store, but and the GarageBand Podcast Studio are not otherwise affiliated with Apple Computer or Apple’s GarageBand software product. For more information about the trademark agreement between and Apple, visit:

media Contact:

Brooke Hammerling
Zeno Group

GarageBand PODCAST STUDIO IS UNVEILED AS First CONSUMER ONLINE Tool to Record, Mix and Publish Podcasts

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

USA Today writes, "Dozens of lawyers and big names in the entertainment and technology industries crowded into the red-upholstered seats" to hear arguments on "MGM vs. Grokster" today. Actually, that sentence should read, "Dozens of lawyers and big names in the soon-to-be-former entertainment and technology industry". The case hinges on the interpretation and application of the precedent set in 1984's "Sony v. Universal Studios" decision. I contend that both entertainment copyright holders (but not entertainment creators) and file-sharing networks (but not sharing music) are on their way out. It's funny to watch them fight over who gets to exit first.

The entertainment companies claim that file sharing software (by encouraging piracy) violates their copyright. Music companies have felt this most acutely, but movie companies are stepping up to the plate before it inevitably becomes an issue for them, too. They claim that the networks allow people to make their content freely available, without their permission. Clearly they view file sharing as a threat to their business.

Ironically, the real long-term threat to entertainment companies isn't software that illegally makes content free to people, but people who make legally free content. In a study conducted at MIT, they found that scientists who published their findings freely on the Internet were 10 times more likely to be cited than scientists who insisted on preserving copyright and published in paper journals. I imagine that the court will consider statistics like the percentage of traffic used for trading music illegally. But the number of files we are talking about - the handful of "hits" that pay the record company bills - is a tiny fraction of the quality music in the world, and tiny compared even to free music available on alone. Unlike Don Henley, Sheryl Crow and the Dixie Chicks, there are 140,000 artists gladly making their music available as unprotected, free mp3s. Granted, they have less to lose, but the point is that if someone offers a free option of comparable quality, you're gonna have a lot of pressure on the price of your product.

Despite their insistence to the contrary, file sharing software makers need the record labels to care about copyright and at least try to lock up the music. Why? Because ironically, the networks depend on the promotional investment record companies make to identify/create the hit songs that causethe bulk of their trading traffic. If record companies are unable to protect copyright, they will have less incentive to invest in and promote music. If the record companies stopped promoting music, the file sharing networks would devolve into an undifferentiated morass.

If MGM loses this cases, that doesn't mean we're talking about the day the music died. Record companies historically serve two purposes.

  • allocating the scarce resources of studios, manufacturing, and distribution

  • and

  • promoting and marketing music to a passive listening audience

New technology like Apple's GarageBand is making it easier and cheaper for anyone to create music...just for the fun of it (imagine that). And of course, file sharing is just a derivative of core technologies - mp3 and the Internet - that make it far easier and cheaper to distribute content. All-in-all there is actually more music being made today than ever before. The resources record companies used to muster are no longer scarce!

However, people's attention spans are still scarce. So if record companies can no longer afford to market and promote music, how are we going to sort through the embarrassment of music being created? New technologies like the GBRP, RSS 2.0 and iPodder are leading the way to a world where the collective activity of music lovers fills the promotional void. It's real peer-to-peer music sharing, community building, and culture creating.

I have left out something from this does anyone make any money in this world? An interesting thing happens when you stop talking about scarcity and start talking about abundance: money doesn't seen to matter because everything is so intrinsically cheap. However, not everything is abundant in this emerging world, so capital still needs to be allocated and therefore money can be made. Recognizing the trend (however nascent it is), is developing a business model for our members, but I'll save that discussion for another time - when it is no longer confidential ;)

Monday, February 07, 2005

Thanks to Napster To Go's superbowl media blast, the music business question of the moment is Owning vs. Renting music. This is a sadly misleading rhetorical structure. Neither party in this argument, iTunes nor Napster (and by proxy Microsoft's Janus platform), provides rentals or sells ownership of recordings in the traditional sense.

Ownership of music recordings, whether by design or accident, has traditionally supplied complete portability. What you could do with your copy of a recording was only limited by available technology and fair use laws. I could play my 45s on any record player. LPs could be copied to tape for use in the car. CDs can be (infamously) ripped to mp3s for use on any digital player. By contrast iTunes songs only work on iPods. I can't play the songs I purchased from them on my sports music player or my digital jukebox. The only paid service of note that offers real ownership is eMusic.

If Napster offered true rental access to music we would only pay for the time we listen to the song. Traditional rental models have to contend with a simple fact: If one person rents an item (book, apartment, video), then another person cannot rent that same item. This is why they keep multiple copies of popular items and they charge you for the time that you have possession of the item regardless of whether you were using it that whole time. Traditional rental business solve the problems of *scarcity*. In the case of digital music however, there are unlimited copies of a song available and so the only duration of economic consequence is when a song is actually being listened to. I would be generous to say that what Napster is really offering is rental of their entire catalog, but the model still doesn't account for the fact that most of the time I don't use any of their catalog.

Let's assume for a moment that iTunes tracks worked on all digital music players and Napster charged per listen, then which model, owning or renting, makes more sense? Even putting aside the competition of legally free music (like at my company's website,, neither model is compelling. The service I want is a rent-to-own model. Such a service would have no monthly fee and I could pull over an unlimited number of tracks to a limited number of devices that track how many times I listen to it. Each listen costs me X cents, but counts toward purchase of the track. Any time I make up the difference between the amount I've paid in rentals and the ownership price of the track, the track gets converted to a form with complete fair use portability.