Many music podcasts are available online, distributed by podcasters who want to share their collection with the world. Some of these are distributed by independent musicians, groups or individuals who enjoy creating and sharing their music but have a small fanbase. For them, a podcast means closer contact with their listeners, and the blog that usually accompanies a podcast often allows for the comments and opinions of the listeners to be shared with the musicians. The listeners often appreciate this close contact, and some become resentful when their favorite groups gain widespread popularity. Musicians may find that the music podcast they share is a way to build a following and gain an audience that is loyal to them. Since many of the musicians who podcast do so as independent artists who lack the sound the music industry is looking for or simply haven’t been noticed yet, a music podcast may build a following that attracts attention to them and gives them an entry point into the music industry.
For others, a music podcast may be the chance to become a dj, and the episodes they share will contain mixes of different songs, highlighting obscure yet accomplished artists and taking their listeners on a tour every episode. These amateurs podcast merely because they enjoy the activity, as most independent podcasters do. Yet another type of music podcast, however, involves the online radio station.
While some radio stations have taken the leap to the internet by offering streaming connections to their current playlist, others have accepted the podcast as a way of sharing their music. Such a style is very similar to the amateur dj, but brings a level of professionalism that is not found with the amateur podcasters.
A music podcast may also be a way to sample works by more well known artists before purchasing. Some musicians and groups will podcast their new music, or portions of the new pieces, in order to peak interest in the songs before release. Fans get to listen to the music and find out what they might like before purchasing the whole album. A possibility, however, is that music podcasts become subscription based, and musicians begin charging for access to the feed.
The online sale of music has proved its popularity, with Apple’s iTunes reaching its one billionth paid download recently. A music group could conceivably offer a feed to its fans that they could pay for, and regularily update it with new songs that would be downloaded directly to the fan’s computers Although this distribution model is not yet in place, it seems to fit with the over all trend. Already, some nonmusic groups have agreed to podcast their files, on the condition that a paid subscription is bought.