Special Delivery

If you’re sick of the monotony of modern radio, junior Bryan Randolph thinks he has a solution: podcasting, a fast-rising medium that exposes consumers to a wide array of new artists without the hassle of station surfing or file sharing. This new technology automatically delivers songs or talk radio files to users through a subscription service and a downloadable program called iPodder.

The process begins when podcasting groups create a sound file and place it in a specific feed (Jazz, News, etc.). The iPodder software automatically loads these files onto the hard drives of everyone who subscribes to that feed. People pick which type of music, shows or files they would like delivered, and they arrive like the morning paper. The files can be played on Windows Media Player or iTunes software and automatically load to any portable MP3 device.

Randolph works for www.indiefeed.com, which delivers music that’s unlikely to be played on most commercial radio. IndieFeed plays only music by non-RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) artists, who are often more inclined to want their music shared. “We don’t put ourselves in danger of being sued by [Napster-suing Metallica drummer] Lars Ulrich,” Randolph said. “But more importantly, we’re promoting the bands who aren’t so wrapped up in money grubbing that they’re unwilling to share their music.”

Despite limiting itself to non-RIAA artists, IndieFeed offers a more expansive selection of music than commercial the radio with more listener control. Chris MacDonald, the creator of IndieFeed, contrasts his creation favorably to the modern radio market, controlled largely by Clear Channel Communications.

“Clear Channel relies on the highest volume, lowest common denominator. That’s why most of what you hear from them is homogenized crap,” he said. “Podcasting, on the other hand, is inherently niche oriented. The beauty of it is analogous to TV versus cable. If you like cooking, now there is a whole (TV) channel just for you. Well, now if you like independent modern rock, there is a new (podcasting) channel just for you.”

In addition to offering increased artistic freedom without Federal Communication Commission controls, Podcasting is beneficial for artists and DJs because it is relatively inexpensive to maintain.

“The distribution is simple, but widespread, and very little hardware is required to reach a huge audience,” Randolph said, adding that without the FCC, musicians enjoy greater freedom of speech.

With ever-increasing technological advances and more audiences demanding specific content, some believe podcasting has the potential to revolutionize the way new music is heard.

“Podcasting provides an extremely inexpensive way to send audio to a broad audience base, in an unprecedented way,” MacDonald said. “Before podcasting, it took anywhere between 100 to 1,000 times as much money to achieve this reach. Harken back to the early ’90s when desktop publishing emerged and revolutionized the entire publishing business. Podcasting is as influential to radio distribution as word-processing is to publishing.”

As Indiefeed expands, it is looking for GW volunteers and interns. E-mail Chris@indiefeed.com if interested.

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