Notes from the Shore

Work, marriage, kids and music

Home Recording Podcasts

I’ve had an iPod (several, actually – the current being the first not to self destruct) over the last several years, but only in the last year or so I’ve become interested in listening to podcasts. I think it comes from my desire to always be hearing something new – I have mostly the same old music on my iPod (even if it is 12 gig worth, which comes to roughly a whole lot). With podcasts, it’s always something new, and sometimes useful and inspiring.

I listen to several non-music related podcasts. Two of my favorites are Astronomycast and my good friend’s spiritual-themed Foundations. But, since this is a music production blog, I’m going to review some of my favorite and most useful music production podcasts.

First is the grandaddy, the Project Studio Network. It is written and hosted by Michael Bolin and frequent Womb contributor Big Al Wagner. Both run small private studios and Mike works in a music store, and their catch phrase is that they, like us, are the “Unsung heroes of the music business.” Their shows consists, like many on this list, of a short banter segment (Crosstalk), the latest music news, informational segments on some aspect of home recording, and at the end they “tweak the stupid knob” giving some humorous story from the world of (usually) popular music. I love this show because of the wonderful good humor of the hosts. They spend much of the show laughing and we laugh right along with them. Another thing that makes this show stand out are the regular contributions by award-winning producers and mixers like Charles Dye. These guys seem to know everybody!

The down side is that PSN has not been on the air for quite some time. They held on 99 episodes for several months before squeezing out 100, and have not published since. I put them on this list, however for two reasons. First, their back episodes provide a wealth of information. Second, Big Al has promised (swears!) that they are getting close to starting up regular releases again. I for one will keep my podcatching software poised.

Inside Home Recording has actually been running longer than PSN, but not with the same hosts. Founded by two gentlemen named Paul Garay and James Devon, since 2005 they have individually moved on to other pursuits and the current hosts are Derek K. Miller and Dave Chick. Derek is a self-described computer geek, and toured with the band The Neurotics in the early 90’s. Since then, he has busied himself in his own band and running workshops and seminars. Dave is a full time movie, TV and video game composer, and has an ongoing series on the show about scoring for video.

The show has a similar set-up to PSN, with some banter at the beginning, music-related news, topical segments, and ending with an opinion section where Dave and Derek sound off about something going on in the world of music right now. The biggest difference between IHR and PSN, of course, is that IHR is currently producing new episodes.

In a slightly different vein, the Home Made Hit Show (sorry, no logo) concentrates on the music more than the method. Hosts Tony Butterworth and Dave Criddle spend a little time bantering, and bring some segments and tips and tricks, their main differentiating factor is that they play 3 to 5 listener-submitted tunes each show. There is also an active forum where listeners discuss the recent shows. This one runs several times a month, posting on Fridays.

The Home Recording Show is all business, no banter (well, kinda). The hosts are Ryan Canestro, Jesse Zoller and Jon Tidey, all small studio operators up and down the west coast. Jon also edits the blog The format of the show is simple – each member of the trio produces a segment, they play the segment, and then have a small round-table discussion about it. The round-table discussions can often be as informative as the produced segments.

There is also a forum for discussion of each show, although it is not as busy as the one supporting the Home Made Hit Show. They get pretty close to weekly releases on this one.

CD Baby claims to be the largest distibutor of independantly produced music in the US, and it’s probably true. As of December 10, 2009, they had 278,500 artists they were representing, sold over 5.3 million of their CDs, and paid nearly $108 million to those artists. They run a series of podcasts, many focused on the music they sell, but one in particular has been in my rotation since I discovered it late last year. This is the DIY Musician Podcast.

This blog is not so much technical in nature, as business-oriented. Their purpose is to help independant artists succeed in the music business. To this end they have a rotating format. Every other show is an interview, either of an independant artist who is “making it” or “on the way”, or a music professional dispensing advice. On the other weeks, they have a roundtable discussion where they comment on the previous week’s interview(s), look at some of the latest music business news (specifically oriented on what affects independent artists), and take some reader e-mail and voice-mail.

The hosts, Kevin Bruener, Chris Bolton and Chris Robley are all employees of CD Baby or one of it’s afiliates. They are also active independant artists themselves in the Portland area, and their musical exploits are frequent topics of discussion during the roundtable segments. If you are an independant artist looking for reasonable ways to promote yourself and grow your “tribe“, I highly recommend this podcast.

Sessions with Slau grew out of the Project Studio Network. Slau was a regular contributor to that podcast and decided he liked it enough to start one of his own. Slau runs a full-time recording studio in New York City and podcasts about his adventures. Sometimes it’s a mic shootout, sometimes it’s an interview, sometimes it’s a story. The episodes are always well-produced, but few and far in between. He’s still making them, though, so I keep my iTunes account ready to pick them up.

Last on the list is the Sound on Sound Podcast. This is tied to the magazine, of course. In each podcast editors Hugh Robjohns and Paul White discuss what’s caught their attention and answer some listener questions (Sound Advice). There is frequently a feature segment by one of the technical editors. The SOS news editor takes a look at the latest music news, and finally they promo the upcoming magazine with teasers about the feature articles.

So, that’s what all fills up my iPod. Any other favorites out there that I’ve overlooked?

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