Podcast Listeners About To Break The Ten Million Mark

July 15, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Technology News
Nielsen/Net Ratings announced this week that nearly 10 million people have downloaded an audio podcast recently. The largest percentage of the population downloading podcasts was in the demographic group aged 18-44 years.

Mark Rushton started podcasting his ambient and electronica music in late 2004. Since then, he's received nearly 100,000 downloads of his music worldwide at podcast.markrushton.com.

"I couldn't believe my luck with podcasting," said Rushton, 39, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "I had tried sending out promo CDs to radio stations and even put free MP3s on my web site, but none of those efforts had the results like I did after creating a professional-sounding 20 minute program, figuring out how to make a XML file, and sending it along to all the podcast directories."

Rushton's latest album, Hum And Drift, recently became available as a paid digital download on iTunes, Napster, Connect, and other internet services. A CD version of the album can be found at BuyIowaArt.com, Amazon.com, Tower Records, and CafePress.com. Rushton created an 8 minute "megamix" from portions of each song on Hum And Drift. It was released as a podcast that has since been downloaded several thousand times.

Podcasts have also enabled Rushton to release recordings that would normally be unviable for most radio formats. "Last summer, bass player Jon Harnish and I created a 34 minute long slice of improvised ambient electronica music in a live setting. Because of the way the composition flowed, it really couldn't be edited down to a shorter length. Jon and I liked it a lot and decided to put it out in a podcast. In the podcast, I spoke for about two minutes at the beginning, before the music. It was a way of introducing the piece and giving it some context. I think we've had over 3000 downloads of that podcast since it was released, which is amazing! There's no way any radio station would have played it since it was 34 minutes long, but people liked it! There is an audience for this kind of music.

Rushton does give some advice to would-be podcasters: "Make sure you create a quality program. Script or at least outline out what you're going to say in advance. Don't ramble. Keep the talking to a minimum. Use a decent microphone and make sure nothing's hissing in the background."

In addition, Rushton notes, "Get in the iTunes directory first. That's where a good 70% to 80% of my audience comes from. Make sure you study all the iTunes-specific XML codes they offer. Apple has a good instruction page on what they all mean. Once you get your XML template set up, it's basically just copy, paste, and replace for each new podcast. Don't be afraid of XML if you don't know anything about it. Eventually you'll figure it out. Download the Altova XML Spy editor for working on your XML script. You won't use 99% of what the program offers, but for the basics it works.