SO YOU WANT TO START AN AUDIOBLOG…

I figure I might as well take advantage of all this new traffic we’ve been getting lately. For those of you interested in starting your own music log, here is the Soul Sides Bare Bones Guide To Audioblogging (all rights reserved. no biting allowed, herbs)

Philosophical Considerations (aka Some B.S. You Might Want to Think About).

The point of an audioblog is to provide edutaintment. Make it fun, make it instructive, but either way, make sure you’re taking into consideration both you and your subscribers. These blogs, by nature, are a practice in narcissism but it’s self-aggrandizing, hey-look-at-all-the-cool-shit-I-know-about narcissism that actually might benefit people who are willing to put up with your preening for the sake of hearing what music you put up. THEREFORE, make sure they’re getting something out of it and not just you.

Personally, I think audioblogs help service musical areas that most people don’t know about. Posting up Nirvana songs – unless it’s some bootleg of a concert from 1989 – is not exactly spreading the word on the obscure. Aim for songs or artists or genres that are off-the-radar. It’s not about obscurity as it is about exposure. There’s nothing wrong with posting up a popular song, but ideally, your blog shouldn’t resemble the Billboard Hot 100 or a mixtape only a hardcore trainspotter can appreciate.

Also, I’d also recommend keeping your audioblog separate from any other blogs you have. That’s just my own philosophy; it makes it easier for subscribers to find the content they want. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include personal experiences about the music you’re posting up: of course you should, but people don’t need to read about what you ate for breakfast or how work is going interspersed with your audio offerings.

How To…
1) Pick Your Songs. In any single post, aim for 1-3 songs only. I could explain the rationale behind this, but really, it’s just a good idea to emphasize quality over quantity as well as selectiveness over inclusiveness. Also, don’t pick the song you thought was “ok,” hit folks with that crazydumbhotness.

2) Convert and Upload Your Songs. If you want simplicity and efficiency, I’d recommend creating sound files or ripping CD tracks as 128 MP3s. It’s not CD quality but it’s still quite listenable and more importantly, it keeps the file small(er) which is good for you and your subscriber.

New: How does one convert vinyl into a sound file? I should have included something about this the first time: basically, you need to find a way to connect your turntable to your computer and there are many ways to do this, depending on what your audio and computer set-up allow. For me, I have a portable turntable with stereo RCA outputs and I use a simple RCA-to-mini-jack Y-adapter to plug that into my microphoine input on my Macintosh computer.

Once there, I use an audio program known as Sound Studio but there are dozens of similar programs you can use that will allow you to record sound to your computer and then edit it.

Most programs will tend to save sound files as WAV or AIFF files which will need to get converted to MP3. Apple users can just use iTunes. PC users – you’re on your own but I can’t imagine it being very hard. Like I said, I recommend MP3s at a 128 bit rate which is good enough to listen to but isn’t CD quality sound, and therefore, is smaller.

Many free WWW hoster/servers will have storage limitations that you will likely fill up quickly if you store too many files at one time. Keep in mind that there is roughly a 1 minute = 1 MB ratio. Think ahead to how many sound files you want to keep up at any one time, calcuate how much time that will take and then you’ll know how much storage you’ll need. If you’re posting up a few songs everyday, even if you only keep them up for 1-2 weeks, that will add up very quickly. Storage is cheap but if you have a free server, it may not give you that much to work with. Just keep that in mind.

3) Create an Audioblog. There’s no shortage of ways to do this but for simplicity’s sake, I’d recommend Blogger.com. It’s basic but easy to navigate and if you know any HTML, it’s not hard to adapt to your own design visions.

Eric suggests:

    “There’s also audioblog.com, which allows for direct upload and compression of mp3/wav, plus a higher quality method of recording from the browser, in addition to the standard phone posting capabilities for up to 60 minutes. The basic service is 4.95, which may or may not be good, depending on your trust/value of ‘free’ services.”

4) Design Your Audioblog. Ok, this is pet peeve of mine. The whole point of an audioblog is to draw attention to your songs. Therefore, you should make it as easy as possible for someone to identify the songs without confusing it with other text on the screen. Examples of design triumphs and gaffes:
Great: super simple and clean.
Good: even though there’s more information given, Fluxblog uses the same format for every post and separates it from any other links that might cause confusion.
Not so good: The design is a clutter of text and with so many hyperlinks, it’s hard to tell, at first glance, what’s the song and what’s something else. Use of bolding for the songs would help, but so would creating a format that starts off each new post with the song first and then everything after.

From Kojack:

    Get Your Tags/Filenames Right. Proper tags on your mp3s and a filename following the conventional “artist – song name” format make for easier enjoyment of the music you’re taking the time to highlight. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s hit “Save Target As” on a whim one too many times, only to end up with a couple of dozen mystery mp3s taking up space on my machine.

5) Launch!. Getting people to find your site comes down to creating links with other audioblogs. You highlight their blog, they’ll highlight yours. Just remember that no one is obligated to link you, even if you’re linking them and that you should be polite when requesting a link from someone else. In general, the better the songs you post, the more attention your blog will receive but “better” is in the eye of the beholder. If you specialize in Japanese death metal, you may not get a zillion people trying to find you, but you’ll probably be big in Japanese death metal circles.

6) How long should you keep songs up for?. This is pseudo-philosophical/legal question of sorts. The thinking being: if you keep your sound files up indefinitely and eventually amass 10,000 songs for free download, RIAA might come knocking on your door and you don’t want that. There’s also just the idea that your audioblog rewards subscribers who check every day or two for new songs rather than some lucky newbie who randomly stumbles on, downloads everything, and then never returns. It’s on you though. Most audioblogs seem to leave material up for 1-2 weeks and that sounds about right to me.

For future reference: Please do not hit me with technical questions, i.e. “what kind of software should I use to convert my sound files” or “where can I find a free server.” I’ll just ignore them. However, if you have comments or questions of a more general nature, try emailing me. Good luck and have fun.


Need more resources? Read Tofu Hut’s Guide.

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