Updated list of CDs bought under the “Fair podcasting” scheme.

Latest karma CD is for March 2006.

“Fair podcasting” is me giving something back to the artists providing free music. I believe free and legal MP3s are a great marketing tool for new acts (Penny Broadhurst has clocked up over 3000 downloads of a poetry track), they are better than streams (since we can listen to new stuff on the move on our shiny MP3-players) and they give the consumer no legality headaches. Plus there is no DRM.

So what do I give apart from my time and a mention here (and also on the more popular halvorsen)?

Money. I purchase a CD for every month I do a podcast. Not just any CD, but a CD from one of the acts played on my shows. I can’t buy a CD from every artist played (my funds are limited) and some artists have no intention to provide physical product — they are happy to give away their music for free. So there you have it — the symbiotic relationship showing that a free MP3 track can lead to a purchase of a CD. Fair podcasting. Or as Nick Lowe sings, Music for Money.

List of purchased CDs.

Links point to mention on Halvorsen (where the purchases are mentioned as they happen).

Wed, 26 Apr 2006

Are Acecast podcasts “podsafe”?

The Wikipedia definition of “podsafe” is,

a track that is legally permissibly to play on a podcast, usually because the band or artist is not signed to a major label or the recording was made under the Creative Commons license.

Strictly speaking only music that has been explicitly licensed as free-to-play (ie a CC-licence or direct permission from an artist who owns the complete work) or where the copyright has run out (ie old recordings from archive.org) can be labelled 100% podsafe. Playing tracks from your own CD-collection and then providing links to iTunes or Amazon for the song is not podsafe; but plenty of (high-profile) podcasters do this.

So what about Acecast? Well, I only play free and legal MP3s. Does that make my shows “podsafe”? I really don’t know or care. But I do know that you can safely download the MP3s I play for free in the knowledge that you are not breaking any laws.

New Acecast coming soon.

Wed, 24 Aug 2005

The Acecast signature tune is courtesy of Belbury Poly.

I am pleased to announce that Acecast now has a signature tune. The piece of uplifting and timeless electronica to head each show from now on is Wildspot by Belbury Poly.

Thanks to the fine people at Ghostbox for the permission to use. Wildspot is available on both of Belbury Poly’s releases, the version I am using is the one which is currently available for download from the Farmer’s Angle EP.

The track is also on The Willows, my fair podcasting CD for May 2005. Belbury Poly discovered via Blissblog (Simon Reynolds).

Mon, 06 Jun 2005

How I rate music for Acecast.

I use a system for rating music similar to that of iloveradio.org. After downloading the track, I edit the MP3-tag so it contains the site where the track is from (this is crucial now that I have been through around 2000 tunes). I then put the newly downloaded songs in my “download” category in iTunes, give one star to uninteresting songs, three stars for good tracks (one smart playlist; exactly three stars and in my “download” category) and four/five star tunes are put in another smart playlist. Rating is mostly done while on the move with the iPod. This way I went through all of the 750+ tracks of the SXSW showcasing artist roster in a couple of weeks.

I also have “download fresh” category which only contains tracks downloaded over the last 14 days, this to give new songs a second chance to pass quality control.

One star tracks are simply deleted. I do not keep track of them. I might run the risk of downloading them again (the free and legal tracks have a tendency to turn up on several sites), but that’s not a real problem.

The next show (after my dark electronic special) will be based on SXSW 2005 tracks only (10 tracks or so, but I will also be sharing my complete list of tracks worth downloading from the showcase).

Sun, 05 Jun 2005

A note about the Acecast playlists.

Just a short blurb on my set-lists. I try to make the shows around 30-35 minutes so the whole show can be listened to on a typical commute.

All tracks played are free and legal downloads available at the time of the recording of the podcast. So you can sleep tight after downloading them, without having to fear “Auntie RIAA” knocking on your door. All tunes are in the MP3 format.

I play anything in any genre as long as I like it. At least one Scandinavian track is featured on each podcast; preferably Norwegian, and I use the term “Scandinavian” the way the English use it — ie I include Finland and Iceland. This is good for two reasons: there is an abundance of good music coming from Northern shores and I like to Support the local punks (as we said in the ’70s).

I avoid sites requiring registration (they might be mentioned as resources though). I also try to give credit if I know where I first found a track; although most of the time the music I play is found through my own “research”.

There will be the odd exception to the rules; I might point you to a registration site or I might play tracks not available on the internet (but where I have direct permission from the artists, Snowsuit will appear on a show soon).

All copyright to the music played belong to the artists and their record labels/publishing companies. I thank them for providing tracks for free — not all downloading is illegal.

And if you think this is all about free music — have a look at my updated list of CDs bought under my “fair podcasting” scheme (for every month I do a podcast I will buy a CD from one of the acts played).

Thu, 05 May 2005

Acecast podcast frequency.

So far I have been doing podcasts once a month. I am getting used to the kit and I do also have quite a backlog of tracks; so I will try to double the frequency of my shows. This means that from now on there will be anything from one to four [you optimist, Ed] “Acecasts” a month, with the average around two shows a month.

Thu, 05 May 2005

Acecast is hosted by Dreamhost (“advert”).

The Acecast site is hosted by Dreamhost because:

  • I found a recommendation through a fellow Blosxom user.
  • I get ssh access: critical for my own Blosxom, rsync and shell hacking.
  • A solid amount (120 GB/month) of bandwidth and diskspace (2.4 GB) is needed for podcasting.
  • The price is low — $8/month (this is a private podcasting experiment).
  • I can host three domains for that price if I want to.

Three minor issues so far:

  • the control panel is not as slick as others
  • standard output from Analog is all you get in terms of web server logs
  • the account is not chroot’ed. That might be an issue if you are slightly paranoid.

The two major problems I’ve faced so far (performance and disk space) have been resolved.

If you do follow the Dreamhost link and sign up, I will get a referral fee. Bear in mind I have only been with Dreamhost since late 2004, and check what other people has to say about them.

Initial post: Tue, 08 Feb 2005.

Thu, 17 Mar 2005

How the Acecast web site is created.

All text entries are written in Vim as flat text files.

Blosxom creates the static web pages from the text files, with some help of SSIs (server side includes).

The layout is a customized version of Iztsu theme for Blosxom. I have unwrapped the theme to a Blosxom flavour and tidied up some of the code.

The RSS 2.0 feed is created by a couple of home rolled Blosxom flavours. One to produce valid RSS 2.0 with enclosures; another to point to something which looks nice in your RSS viewer (no menus, just the entry).

I use very few graphic elements on purpose. The MP3/Podcast logos are by Tim Madden.

The colour schemes were created with help from Wellstyled (F00, Triad, almost max angle) and Eric Meyer’s colour blender.

Thu, 03 Mar 2005

Static layout of Acecast.com (detailed sitemap).

This is not only useful, but both the the html and css is valid. It’s a complete site map for Acecast. Useful as a reference for viewing how the site is built up internally.

Thu, 06 Jan 2005