Podcasting/Vodcasting: Distributing Your Audio and Video Files Via the Web
We've come a long way, but we couldn't finish without covering a few last, minor things.
Copyright is at the foremost concern for anyone publishing anything online. You must be sure that any music or information you use or discuss in your Podcast is acceptable to be disseminated as such. You have unlimited replay value of anything you record yourself, but in most cases, you have no right to use any audio (music or spoken) made, produced, or sponsored for the use by somebody else. Please see the University of Washington Copyright Connection website for more information. In some cases, short audio clips may be played on not-for-profit publications (including educational and not-for-profit personal Podcasts). This is many times called "fair use." Yet because of the technicalities involved, one person's views of fair use may differ from another's. It is always safe to simply use only whatever you create.
That said, there are a large number of "Podsafe" resources that provide royalty-free and increasingly permissive license-restricted audio resources. The Podsafe Audio network connects artists with Podcasters and other publishers. Additionally, any works created using Apple Computer's loops (e.g. Podcasts created using the built-in sounds in Apple's GarageBand software) may be freely distributed.
(Per usual, the University of Washington is in no way affiliated with the aforementioned sites. Visit and use them at your own risk and discretion).
Tracking & FeedBurner
The University provides a free-to-use statistics program (which you can activate by navigating to the SimpleSite page on Catalyst Tools) that you can enable on your web publishing files that will allow you to track your downloads to more accurately gauge your week-to-week audience. (iTunes, among others, will and can only report the number of "new" subscribers.)
In addition to this resource, there are a number of websites which will allow you to more closely monitor your weekly downloads. One such website, FeedBurner (which is not affiliated with the University and whose site and services you use at your own risk and discretion), allows you to "mask" your feed URL behind a Feedburner URL. Your feed will be displayed and is subsribe-able per usual, but FeedBurner will keep track of your viewership. The service is free with a premium added to more advanced features.
The secret we've been keeping from you until now is that there are a growing number of websites and programs that you can employ to generate your RSS feeds for you. We don't instruct in how to use them explicitly because knowledge of the technology behind the feed is important. That and it is important to not "lock in" to any software or website with the hopes of it scratching every itch or remaining free and/or usable and applicable for an infinite amount of time. Like in our workshop on Word, much of the cirriculum is actually for basic word processing. If you know what margins are, you can use any number of programs to set them. Similarly, if you know what XML and RSS are, you can either make them by hand or use a program to speed the process along.
I'm as tired of saying it as you are of reading it, but it's important to note that the University of Washington is in no way affiliated with the following websites, companies, or entities. You use their products and services or view their publications at your own risk and at your own discretion.
...is available at libsyn.com and provides an all-in-one solution for Podcasters. They provide hosting, tracking, bandwidth, and feed generation. They have been around for a while now and are gaining steam for their ease of use. They do not, at the time of this writing, offer any free versions of their service. They are more geared toward "Podcast Only Publishers" who are only interested in publishing a Podcast and are not concerned about an accompanying website or online presence. Since the University provides hosting and bandwidth to you as a part of your technology funding, Libsyn's only advantage would come from its feed-generator and its more-ample bandwidth available if your University account provies insufficient.
Software Garden's ListGarden RSS Feed Generator Program
...is available from this web page and is a cross-platform (i.e. Windows and Mac) program that offers complete feed generation from start to finish. At the time of this writing, the software seems stable, accurate, and applicable. It is currently free of charge. The Mac version requires very minimal use of the command line utility to initially start the program.
..please email us with whatever solutions have worked well for you.
Good luck, and happy Podcasting!