February 27, 2010

In Praise of Podcasts

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I have, for quite some time now, subscribed to free, KCRW, song of the day and new music podcasts. I have, for almost the same amount of time, listened to these podcasts with only the minimal frequency required to justify even subscribing. Though even if I abandoned my religious podcast downloading I would likely never feel the difference, I can’t quite bring myself to do so. For, how wonderful is it that every day, a free song automatically appears on my computer?

While sometimes, the music featured is by bands that I have never heard and I would have been just as happy to continue never hearing of, I often peruse my list of downloads, picking one arbitrarily, and am thoroughly pleased. And while, more often than not, I look through my list of songs and in the end desert it for something I’ve inevitably listened to more than enough times, it is, more than anything, the notion that I have these songs delivered once a day for me to discover as I please that keeps me downloading.

My song of the day creates a bubble of the pure joy of discovery. The songs are at my disposal and I may listen to them as I wish. It is by way of these podcasts that I discovered Nellie McKay was releasing a Doris Day Tribute, what songs were deemed most important of the decade, and heard some releases that though didn’t lead to an album purchase, led to a pleasant addition to my musical vernacular. What’s more, the songs often come to my computer before the albums they belong to are released. I have avoided many an unnecessary album purchase by hearing a song from my podcast first.

All in all, though often sitting idle, neglected, and awaiting my attention, I do still posses a remarkable fondness for my song of the day. While I may not do all I could to make them useful, I appreciate their mere presence. No effort on my part, and I am introduced to endless music as I wish. This is how music should be: presented for discovery without the commitment of buying a whole album. It is reminiscent of the days when a song on the radio would spark interest in a band, not incessant promotion of MTV. Every time I remember my podcast is there, and decide to browse, it is like a visit to the record store. Essentially, it is old school in a modern format. While typically, I wholeheartedly champion anything old-fashioned, this combination is done right. I highly recommend getting your song of the day now.

Original Author: Ruby Perlmutter