Welcome to 'Transmitting to Earth'. I'm Charssun and I'll be your host. This blog and podcast is a byproduct of VoyagerRadio.com and is intended to provide the most timely information about this Internet radio station. It is also intended to be a fun and accessible electronic journal with commentary focusing on Internet radio, podcasting and webcasting issues and technologies, music, and some of my other interests. I also offer personal perspective about being an Internet radio broadcaster (and podcaster).
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These past two days I've been working on VoyagerRadio more than I have in two years. Seriously. Actually, I've been working on one area or another of the website, its blogs and its podcasts for the better part of the past week. I'm not entirely certain where the inspiration came from, but I suspect that my need to migrate the website to a new web host had something to do with it.
I also recently purchased the domain name tempoofthedown.com (that's tempo of the down dot com), and I've begun the initial stages of its development. tempoofthedown.com is an offspring of VoyagerRadio, of course, since Tempo of the Down is currently VoyagerRadio's main podcast. (The blog you are currently reading, Transmitting to Earth, also has a podcast, which I often refer to as a blogcast. So if you subscribe to this blog's feed using iTunes, you'll receive commentary-centered podcasts once in awhile.)
The difficult, though fun (I'm hoping), part comes next. That is, figuring out how to separate the forthcoming Tempo of the Down website from the VoyagerRadio site while simultaneously keeping the two projects integrated. I still see Tempo as part of the VoyagerRadio brand, if we can call it that. Perhaps that's where I should adjust my thinking; perhaps Tempo of the Down should be its own brand, entirely independent of its parent project. Yet still, I want to include VoyagerRadio in some aspect of Tempo, since my goal is to continue growing the VoyagerRadio "network".
I'm open to any suggestions. And as always, please stay tuned.
First iPhone Transmission of 2007
--Beginning of transmission--
We need to talk. It's been awhile since you heard from me. Thank you, those of you still subscribed, for continuing to keep your receivers tuned in to Transmitting to Earth! Perhaps you'll be hearing from me more often this year.
In fact, that's what today's transmission is, more or less, all about. That and the iPhone -- but we'll get to Apple Incorporated's latest revolutionary gadget in just a moment. First, I want to let you know that I'll soon be (finally) releasing another Tempo of the Down podcast, and I've even secured the domain tempo of the down dot com so that I force myself take the matter more seriously. So you'll likely be hearing from me more in regards to that.
But wait, there's more! I've also taken on a more active role in the organization Association of Music Podcasting (AMP). As part of my new AMP responsibilities, I'll be composing a new version of the AMP newsletter, a document aimed at providing more information about music podcasting, podcast-safe music, and other AMP-related endeavors. I'm sure some of the research and time I put into the AMP newsletter will reflect in Transmitting to Earth, as well.
So the iPhone...what else can I say but "Wow"? This could be the wireless Internet radio I've been waiting for. It's got WiFi, it's got OS X, and it's got a screen wider than the one my brand-new iPod has! Unfortunately, it's not available 'til June...In the meantime, it's just possible the gorgeous new iPod nano (PRODUCT) RED will tide us over, and at less than half the price!
Until the next transmission, stay subscribed and tell your friends to pick up this blog and podcast's feed. (Yes, Transmitting to Earth is often a podcast, too -- I'll bet you'd forgotten that. Well, so did I!) Also please consider subscribing to that newsletter I'll be handling; simply send an email to amp dot newsletter at gmail dot com letting me know you want to receive the newsletter!
--End of transmission (for now)--
News Transmission from Voyager
I have some great news to report. I've been working -- I'm working a contract job for a digital music service -- and that means I'll have the funds to be able to continue developing VoyagerRadio and all of its associated projects (such as my Tempo of the Down podcast, and my new project, Dark Matter). I haven't received much pay from my contractor yet, but I've received enough funds to purchase a new webhosting account, which I'll be moving VoyagerRadio.com to once I can afford to transfer the domain. I'm also considering the possibility of adding either another podcast to VoyagerRadio, or perhaps renewing the Live365 24-hour audio stream. I don't want to "jump the gun" on that, though -- first I need to get new sessions of Tempo of the Down delivered to your desktops (and iPods, and irivers, etc.).
If you're a member of the VoyagerRadio Forum (not to be confused with the VoyagerRadio Newsletter), then you already know that I've "renewed my commitment to the Voyager mission". I've been posting nearly every day to both the forum and to my Internet Radio Lovers group; perhaps my newfound employment status has induced the release of energy and inspiration I now seem to be (re-)discovering for these projects.
You'll probably be hearing from me more often, so now's the time to subscribe to this blog!
--End of transmission (for now)--
Can They Deliver For Digital Music Lovers?
Recently, rumors have been floating regarding the possibility of both Amoeba Music and Amazon.com planning to each open their own digital music stores. As far as I know, these plans are still fantasy -- I've no idea whether these rumors have any legitimacy at all -- but it seems to make some sense for either of these retailers to make a foray into the digital music scene. To be true, Apple's iTunes Music Store already owns the iPod market -- yet that's because the device's owners are, for the most part, restricted to purchasing exclusively from Apple's store. Amoeba or Amazon, on the other hand, have an opportunity to deliver music to the rest of us out here with less costly (and, arguably, more open) portable devices.
Yet will these companies -- if they even pursue this market -- be able to deliver? Certainly Amoeba has experience selling a music lover's experience within their fancily eclectic "brick & mortar" retail stores (though personally, I don't shop there anymore, since their prices are too high); I say "an experience" because I believe that's what they sell, more than the music itself. Yet what do they really know about selling anything online? It seems a bit of a risky proposition for a company which established itself appealing to the faux-retro-60's-Haight-Ashbury-"wish I had been there" scene. Amoeba Music is all about their stores; can they really transfer the experience to the Internet? I'm a bit doubtful.
And Amazon: Certainly Amazon's done some wonderful things for the Internet shopping experience, providing us with those wonderful algorithms telling us what other books and music we might like to buy, based on our prior purchases. (You either love or you hate those 'Recommendation Engines'.) As sales of CDs decline in this age of digital music delivery, there is reason to speculate that Amazon is looking for a new source of revenue. Yet that may be reason enough to be wary when considering the Internet giant's offerings; will they be more concerned with their own bottom line than the digital music lover's desires (and dwindling PayPal accounts)? A music lover, looking for convenience and decent prices, I wait with caution...
AMP Is In Stealth Mode
AMP (the Association of Music Podcasting) declares they are "in stealth mode" right now, near to releasing the latest version of their website. The organization (which I am a member of) aims to expose music listeners to the best independent and "podsafe" music. (That is, music that can legally be used in podcasts.) Visit AMP's website at musicpodcasting.org or contact me and I'll point you in the direction of more information about the group.
Virgin Not Exercising Marketing Muscle
Three or four weeks ago, I hadn't heard of Virgin Digital, a digital music service affiliated with Virgin Entertainment Group. I'd heard of Napster, and Rhapsody, and iTunes, of course -- hasn't everyone? But for some reason, Virgin's experiment into the digital download space had escaped my radar. Wondering why, I ran some research, and here's what I came up with.
There's been some wild speculation as to why Virgin Digital isn't more well-known, but I think I've come up with the real reason: the marketing department is too small. This isn't something I've just pulled out of my ass (though that's pretty close to the method); I've done some detective work, and it seems to me that Virgin simply hasn't put enough resources into marketing their digital download service. As to why, I've no idea. Perhaps they want to perfect their service before heavily promoting it to the masses. Perhaps Virgin is slowly pooling resources into its digital division, gradually building up its online distribution outlet(s). Perhaps the mother Virgin organization is overlooking the importance of its child divisions.
All this is not to say that Virgin Digital has done a rotten job of marketing its service; on the contrary, they demonstrated exceptional prowess with their "Exercise Your Music Muscle" viral marketing campaign (currently still available through their website), in which a colorful desktop wallpaper depicts somewhat over 70 recording artists -- and left for us to figure out. The wallpaper is still making the rounds, but Virgin probably needs to put more money or man (and woman) power into its marketing -- I mean, if tech-savvy and music-oriented Internet junkies like me aren't hearing about their service, than who, exactly, is?
AMPed 6 Features Solus
AMP (the Association of Music Podcasting), has release AMPed 6, which includes the track "Ummes" by recording artist Solus. You can currently download the track for free from Solus' recording label Upstairs Recordings.
More about AMP...
Underworld for Download
One of my favorite artists, Underworld, really seems to understand the digital transformation that is occurring in our world. What I mean is, they've been tapped into digital culture -- in all of its permutations -- for years, using the Internet to showcase their visual and auraul works. Currently, they're releasing their latest sounds as a DRM-free download -- in fact, they don't even have a CD available. This is a break from their past efforts, which always involved a full-length CD release in addition to a regular onslaught of single remixes.
Underworld began their career -- or at least, first began to make a name for themself -- in the 80s, recording wax. That is, their first official music release was under the independent label Wax Trax! Albums were, of course, released as vinyl, and then CD. Their latest work is, as I've mentioned, available as digital downloads. (Apparently they will also make some remixes available under the CD format; deejays still currently prefer handling CDs and vinyl rather than MP3s.) Yet most well-known artists releasing their works as digital downloads are doing so with some caveats; for example, DRM (digital rights management). Underworld bucks the trend by trusting its fans:
we ask that you restrict these links and downloads to your own personal use only. we are not using any copy protection or drm as we prefer to start from the point of trusing our customers. if the system is abused, we will have to review how we provide content.
Fair enough. (Though I don't think we need to be warned about abusing the system.) I'm really diggin' Underworld's approach, and I hope they continue down this road. By trusting their customers -- and we are, after all, customers once we purchase one of their products -- Underworld is treating us with more respect than most of the well-known artists you can purchase on iTunes and other digital music stores. They're demonstrating, through trust, that they appreciate their fans; too often, artists forget where their bread and butter comes from.
One other thing: Underworld's downloads are not your typical fare; their latest releases are 30-minute compositions which combine a variety of movements into one final musical work. Additionally, their download includes an HTML-based gallery of images, which you can watch while listening to their audio composition (but which is also a work of its own). An article I've read quotes Underworld's Karl Hyde describing some future potentialities; for example, future releases of previously-downloaded works being offered for free to those who've already paid for the works. What a beautiful future this could be...
Download Underworld's works, some of which are free, at UnderworldLive.com.
Thank You For Your Downtempo
Downtempo recording artists and recording labels: Thank you. I've been receiving your music via VoyagerRadio's new track submission form, which you can currently find on the Artists page. (Scroll down and you'll find the form on the right side.) I'm in the process of auditioning the music and I'm certain you'll be listening to some of it in the near future.
If you have a downtempo track you'd like to submit to VoyagerRadio for play on the Tempo of the Down podcast, please either use the form or one of the other methods described on the Artists page. I'm ready to hear your work (and there are a few podcast subscribers ready to listen, too), so send your downtempo to our willing ears!
Internet Radio Transmitted to Your Phone
For years I've considered Internet radio to be streaming audio, and before podcasting came along I never would have considered downloaded audio to fit into the Internet radio umbrella. (I would have simply considered it downloaded audio.) But now, with services like Mobilcast being introduced, I personally believe it's safe to say that podcasts should be included within the Internet radio category.
The term Internet radio is itself misleading; audio that is transferred from one point to another without involving radio waves cannot accurately be described as radio of any form. Yet the term is used because it conjures up the images required to help audiences understand the media: Like radio, Internet radio is received and listened to (though not by the same method).
Podcasts are also received and listened to, and with services like Mobilcast they are also being transmitted via radio frequencies. So podcasts are, quite literally, radio. In fact, it can be argued that podcasting is more like radio than streaming audio, but since the gaps between podcasting and streaming are becoming blurred, it seems pointless to engage in any such argument.
Mobilcast is a service you will be hearing more about, as it's enabling podcasters to transmit their podcasts wirelessly to mobile phones. Eric Rice, a prolific podcaster and audioblogger (and founder of the audioblog and podcast service Audioblog.com), is now podcasting his show via Mobilcast, as is Cush and Slashdot Review. Once I figure out what I need to do, VoyagerRadio will be transmitting via Mobilcast, too. In the meantime, head over to the Mobilcast Network and download Mobilcast so you can "tune in" to Internet radio using your mobile phone today!
Besides this blog, a narrative blog called something that happened, and various other projects, I also moderate a discussion forum: Please consider subscribing to engage in a dialogue about all things having to do with Internet radio!
Artists! Want to be heard on this station? Email your MP3 audio, one file at a time, to our Program Director or mail your CD promo(s) to the following address:Harold J. Johnson
547 Gayley Avenue #1
Los Angeles, CA 90024 Make certain to let use know whether we may use the audio in our podcast, too!
We are officially podcasters now that we have revitalized and reintroduced our downtempo show Tempo of the Down, this time around as a podcast. Now showcasing independent downtempo we've been granted permission to offer for download, Tempo of the Down is our entry into the future of Internet radio.
Head over to our new Podcast area to download the latest session!