Free podcast upload sites

We got permission the other day to take an 8 minute audio clip from the internet radio show interview that I did last week and share it with our FamilyLink.com audience. Kory Meyerink of Family Roots Radio and I discussed our new social network for family history. They have an archived version of the interview on their web site.

Update: the 8 minute audio file is now hosted at Switchpod. Click here to listen to it.

Feel free to take a listen.

When you have audio or video assets like this, you want to get maximum distribution for them, without having to incur all the costs associated with high bandwidth.

So I took a minute to look for free podcast hosting services, where you can upload your audio clips and have them hosted somewhere else, both to save you money, and also hopefully to give you more distribution.

Odeo.com had links to Libsyn and Switchpod, and it looked like Switchpod has a great service. It starts free (with unmetered bandwidth) and then they offer hosting solutions (up to 2,000 MB of audio content, again with unmetered bandwidth, for $30 per month).

This looked good to us, so we should be able to email nearly 3,000 FamilyLink users and invite them to listen to this 7 MB audio file, without being charged for the bandwidth.

We should have that ready to go by tonight. (But I’m impatient and wanted to do this blog post before then.)

Update: the 8 minute audio file is now hosted at Switchpod. Click here to listen to it.

My question is this: what else would you do to get significant distribution of this kind of recording? Video seems to have dozens of incredibly high traffic places for uploading to. But audio? I’m not sure.

So we could take this 8 minute clip and create a video out of it that illustrates the concepts that we are discussing in it. Then we could get significant distribution on YouTube.com, Google Video, and many others, and maybe even Roots Television if they accept it.

I’ve seen individual podcasts on iTunes, but I think it is because someone wanted to start a podcast series, and after doing one, they decided to quit.

Here is the page for submitting a podcast to iTunes.

I’m even considering looking into playing this audio clip on radio stations around the country that reach our demographic: which is primarily 50 and above. Any suggestions there? I suppose that is what Google Radio lets you do–and Bid4Spots.com–but I assume they are focused on 15, 30 and 60 second spots.

What would you do? (Maybe we should send this to an NPR editor and see if they will do an interview as well…)

Music on cell phones

Last night I was told about a great site for buying cell phones online called letstalk.com. So I checked it out and they do seem to have most phones and most carriers, so a lot more options than you typically see. They offer referral bonuses as well. My friend got a free Blackberry Pearl and loves it.

Speaking of mobile phones….I am advising a lot of entrepreneurs to skip the internet phase of their business, meaning trying to get desktop traffic to their web site, and instead focus on mobile applications and mobile web site development. That seems to be where everything is going right now. Google’s mobile search is ready for primetime, Yahoo launches a mobile ad network, GPS-enabled phones are finally arriving in large numbers, video is getting to phones, and on and on.

Today I saw this press release from letstalk.com that shows how much music is making it to cell phones.

SAN FRANCISCO, March 22 /PRNewswire/ — Online wireless retailer LetsTalk today announced the results of a survey that found the music player feature on cell phones isn’t just for teens. The survey shows over 83 percent of music phone purchasers are over the age of 25, and that 55 percent of those 35 years and older are listening to music on their cell phones. Yet, the music they are putting on cell phones isn’t typically coming from carrier offerings.

The music feature on cell phones is becoming more popular with people of all ages — about 63 percent of multimedia cell phone users have listened to music on their phones. Over 50 percent have downloaded 20 or more songs, and 89 percent have downloaded at least four songs to their phones.

Music phone users have several options for acquiring and downloading music to their cell phones, but in spite of the convenience of buying and downloading songs directly from their carrier, only 14 percent of survey respondents said they have done this. Overall, buying music online is popular, with over 60 percent of those polled going this route. While 67 percent of those polled stated they have used a computer to transfer music files to their cell phones from CDs or the Internet.

“Our survey results indicate that consumers are listening to music from their own collection, so virtually any music phone can meet their needs” said Delly Tamer, CEO of LetsTalk. “Customers are making the most of their music phones with cables and memory cards. The industry needs to offer customers a more compelling reason to download songs directly and easily to their cell phones — better prices, easier navigation, faster speeds, exclusive songs, or all of the above.”

I still don’t have a decent RSS reader for my cell phone (although I downloaded Bloglines for Blackberry today, so I’ll try that), and my web connection is still way too slow (can’t wait for T-Mobile to upgrade their network), and I haven’t bought a Blackberry 8800 yet so I’m still missing the GPS and location-based services that I can’t wait to have, so there are still limitations to my using my cell phone for everything. (I still use my 60GB iPod for music and audio books), but I think those limitations will fade over the next 1-2 years and by the time the successor to the Blackberry 8800, the Nokia N95, and the iPhone version 2 or 3 arrive, they will be so useful that I may never need to use a laptop again.

Best entrepreneur lecture series online

My favorite collection of entrepreneur lectures is from Stanford University’s Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Series. I highly recommended downloading these from iTunes or listening to them while you work. You can find scores of incredibly valuable lectures here. One of my favorite’s is a recent lecture by Reid Hoffman, founder and Chairman of LinkedIn.com.

The best online collection of interviews with startup entrepreneurs is probably at npost.com. There are 167 so far.

One is a Jan 31st interview with David Sacks, the founder of Geni.com.

Urgent: Affiliate Marketing Manager Wanted

I need to hire an experienced affiliate marketing manager to run the LDSAudio.com program (using Directrack) and to launch one for LDSlibrary.com (probably Directrack also) and to launch and manage a Commission Junction affiliate program for mp3books.com, home of the FranklinCovey audio library, including 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. If you are interested or know someone who is, please email me at paulballen AT gmail.com.

2 great podcasts: Robert Scoble and Gil Penchina

This past week I’ve listened to an excellent businessjive.com podcast featuring famous blogger Robert Scoble, who just left Microsoft to join podtech.net. Judd Bagley did a great interview. You learn how Robert’s background in journalism has positioned him to be a major player in the blogging and podcasting movements and how his father’s relocating to Silicon Valley gave him phenomenal opportunities, even while he was in junior high or high school.

Also, today I listened to a 55 minute recording from Stanford University made on June 6th I think, a discussion with Gil Penchina, new CEO of Wikia, the for-profit wiki company founded by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales. Wikia is going to make its mark. Gil was with eBay for 8 years, has been an angel investor for 8 years, and has invested in 30-40 startups (including LinkedIn.com). Now he is running one. He gives some excellent insights into the culture of startup companies, the importance of friends and connections, and why he thinks Wikia will succeed with content coming from volunteers. This podcast was sponsored by DFJ and is part of a Stanford weekly lecture series.

My favorite part was when he was talking about learning more from failures than from successes and he described one of his biggest failures, a near melt-down while he was at eBay. He learned some really valuable lessons from it. He had a great quote he learned while an engineer at GE: “If at first you don’t succeed, bury all the evidence that you even tried.” None of us want the world to think we’ve had failures, but we all have. And there are some great lessons to be learned from talking about them.

I downloaded both podcasts from iTunes.

Steve Jobs Was Right; I Was Wrong — I Wanna Own My Music

Because I was highly involved in the online content subscription business of Ancestry.com in the late 90s and early 00s, I thought I was pretty smart. When Apple jumped into the music industry with its iPod and iTunes service, I thought they were pretty smart, but I also thought that everyone else ganging up on Apple would cause a big dent in its music business, and that eventually the iPod would go the way of the Mac, and end up with a relatively small market share. I especially thought Steve Jobs was wrong when he said customers wanted to own their own music and not rent it. How could a pay-per-download model ever compete with an all-you-can-eat subscription model that would give me everything I ever wanted for a low monthly fee?

I had a Rio mp3 player back in 1999 or 2000, so I had a little experience with mobile music. But I had a lot of experience with online genealogy where basically every customer wanted unlimited access to everything. The subscription model worked great with genealogy. Every day we added new data. Every day customers had more content to search through to find their ancestors. I believed all-you-could-eat subscriptions were the way to go. I assumed this would be true in the music industry as well.

So I bought my first iPod, a 20GB version about 3 years ago, and I had lots of trouble with it. The battery went bad pretty soon. I had trouble with synchronization. And many of the audio books I bought on Audible were downloaded in a format that didn’t seem Apple friendly. I was pretty unhappy.

Later, I bought a Creative Zen, a 30GB, I think, and decided to try Yahoo Music, an unlimited music subscription service that launched with a great introductory offer of $6.95 per month. I was sure that a non-Apple player combined with an all-you-can-eat non-Apple music service would be much better than the Apple approach.

But the Yahoo Music service was not compatible with my Zen. I think I paid Yahoo for 3-4 months before getting around to cancelling the service. So then I turned to Buy.com, with its BuyMusic.com web site, and I started buying tunes there. But a lot of songs I wanted I couldn’t find there. And I had some difficulties getting the music onto my Zen. The music management software I was using was actually not that great.

Finally, a month or so ago, I decided it was time to try an iPod again, and this time it would be a video iPod. I needed to get some of the 10Speed Media video productions on a video iPod so I could show the work to potential customers. I also wanted to get tons of LDSAudio.com and mp3books.com content onto an iPod and start demonstrating the power of LDS audio and video clips to employees and customers of our LDS Media company.

So I bought a 60GB video iPod. I started using iTunes, which now has excellent synchronization, a way bigger supply of music than anyone else, a great podcast directory, and it’s easy to get videos onto my iPod as well.

More than anything, I have come to believe that Steve Jobs was absolutely right. People want to own their music. They don’t want to rent it. There are probably only a few hundred songs that I’ll ever want on my iPod. I have my running music, my easy listening music, and I want to listen to tons of podcasts and audio books. But music? Just my favorites. And I’d love to own them, thank you very much.

I have decided that the concept of an all-you-can-eat music subscription is really not that great of an idea for most people. We have the songs we love and we might occasionally start liking a new one. But paying $14.95 per month to try out lots of new songs? No thanks. I just want my favorite music, mainly songs from the 80s. I like to listen to the same stuff over and over and over again. Give me Earth, Wind and Fire’s “In the Stone” and Gloria Estefan’s “Turn the Beat Around” every time I run. I need those songs. I don’t want to sample new music when I exercise.

But with other types of content, like audio books and video, anything educational, I want variety. I almost never want to see the same movie twice. So I would want an all-you-can-eat subscription model there. With audio, I want to hear lectures from new conferences or from universities every month–different ones every time. So I want an unlimited subscription there, with new content being added regularly.

But Steve Jobs was absolutely right about the music. I do want to own it.

And now he owns me.

I am now an Apple iPod and iTunes fanatic. Apple has nailed it. From the awesome out of the box experience in opening the iPod to the feel of it in your hand, to the amazing video display, and the simple earphones that don’t have ear buds that keep falling off, to the incredible iTunes selection for music, podcasts, and video — the whole experience is phenomenal.

So it’s no wonder that consumer surveys show that Jobs was right and that consumers want to own their music..

Here are some interesting stats: 20% of Americans now own an mp3 player, up from 15% last year. 54% of teens do. But only 25% of mp3 users buy songs from a download service. Mostly they rip tunes from their own CD collection (since they already bought the music once.)

So Jobs wins round one handily in the digital music wars. But he still has challengers on all sides, and the biggest potential challenges (based on all the hype and investment and TV ads) might be the mobile phone companies. A few months back I read that more than 950 million devices capable of playing mp3 music would be shipped in 2009 alone, and that most of those devices would be cell phones.

So how will Apple handle the challenge from mobile phones? Many people are speculating that an Apple iPhone is in the works.

Wikipedia has an amazingly comprehensive article on iPod (compare it to Britannica’s content on iPod in case you are skeptical of Wikipedia. Okay, to be fair, we can’t access Britannica’s premium content, but can you imagine them having a better article on iPod than Wikipedia? No way. Wikipedia gets updated regularly, whenever Apple makes a new announcement or has new sales figures or new models. Wikipedia rocks.)

PaidContent.org: February 16, 2006 Archives

Amazon to sell branded mp3 players pre-loaded with content?

Now this could be very interesting…a low-cost subscription model for a player with pre-loaded content. That is exactly where I’ve wanted to go with LDSAudio.com and mp3books.com. If Amazon does it first for the mass market, hopefully it will pave the way for us to do this in smaller, niche markets where we like to play.