The Blog

Playlists, features and other things alike.

After two very special episodes, today we go back to a full music session. We have bedroom pop and undiscovered netlabels, as well as some older loves.

As my dissertation is coming to an end, I will continue to release new epiosdes of White Market Podcast on a weekly basis. I have a few interviews and features planned, and I still have a White Market in Context I’d like to share about the show in relation to its community. For now, I would like to express my tremendous gratitude towards all the interviewees in this season (so far), to Soundart Radio and Diane Gray for their immense help with the radio broadcast side of it, and, of course, to all the artists and labels that keep releasing their music under Creative Commons.

beat.dowsing – Knowns [Self-Published] // CC BY-NC-SA
Dimitri Palikaris – Black Hole [Phonocake] // CC BY-NC-ND
Broke for Free – tabulasa [Soundcloud] // CC BY
Taseh – Caramella Peak [Monster Jinx / FMA] // CC BY-NC-SA
Luz Safari – Tour [Fax Records] // CC BY-ND
Safir Nòu – Land-Escape [La bèl] // CC BY-NC-SA
bedbug – forgetting what its like to feel bad <3 [Z Tapes] // CC BY
moving in – strawberry [Z Tapes] // CC BY
Omar – Pescoço de Túlipa [Lixo Records] // CC BY-NC
waterpistol – blue waters [Jamendo] // CC BY-NC-SA
Small Colin – You & I Will Be [Rec72] // CC BY-SA
Indian Wells – Racquets [Bad Panda Records] // CC BY-NC-SA

 

 

 

 

Pilot Eleven is a British netlabel that often swings its way towards also being a podcast about Creative Commons music. I found out about it last year, because of Netlabel Day and I was ever since quite intrigued with their work.  This week, I sat down to talk to Graeme Gill, who is the person behind Pilot Eleven to find out a bit more about the project’s past, present and future. Of course, we also talked about music.

Our Pilot Eleven special is also an experimental approach to the show. Hope you like it.

Drey Grade – Rubha Hunish Reimagining (Mermaids and Seals) // CC BY-SA
Distilled Logic – Black Hole a Disintegrating Mirror // CC BY-NC-ND
Linden Pomeroy – Festival of Red Leaves // CC BY-SA
Drey Grade – Underground Car Park With Rain Twon Attic With Rain // CC BY
Drey Grade – Railings At Kilt Rock // CC BY
Susan Matthews – A Room of Lights // CC BY-NC-ND
Dallas Simpson – Gibraltar Point Car Park Windscape (vignette) // CC BY
Silo Portem – Cavernous Foundry // CC BY-NC-ND
Distilled Logic – Reflections on Space // CC BY-NC-ND
Drey Grade – Byron Arrives // CC BY

Over the past year, I have struggled to rewrite the “About” section of the website. When I started the show, in 2008, it was a radio show with a podcast. I would produce it and present it thinking of its output as radio; the podcast was just a record of the show that allowed people to listen to it after it aired, beyond its normal schedule on Radio Zero. For a long time, I think my view of the show remained somewhat intact. Probably, because I’m mostly passionate about radio, I held on to this romantic idea that radio was a more valid medium than podcast.

Being more than a 100 years older than podcasting, radio certainly is a more mature medium. After the boom podcasts had in the last few years in terms of quantity available and media coverage, it would be naïve to ignore how podcasting is becoming mainstream. Nonetheless, it is still a few steps away from being an industry or even a viable business venture. In opposition to its sister activities blogging and vlogging, podcast professionals (and/or celebrities) exist on a much smaller scale in both quantity and dimension – meaning they are far fewer and they are also worth less financially.

I will not dive into the discussion whether podcasting is radio or not. I would like to, however, explain how focusing on White Market Podcast as a radio product or as a podcast has an impact on some of its content.

Placeless, not timeless

White Market Podcast currently airs on two community radio stations in England, Spark FM and Soundart Radio, on Sundays and Tuesdays respectively. This is not the first time the show airs in more than one station; back in 2012, White Market Podcast’s the Portuguese predecessor aired on six different stations.

In 2015, the show made its comeback due to my involvement with Spark. As WMP was done live, airing only on Sunderland’s community station, it was only fair that I used the station’s name, frequency, and online addresses as recurrent straplines. However, as White Market Podcast moved into being a syndication platform and started to be played at the other end of England, it was very clear that the show had to become “placeless”. So, the usual references to North East weather and phrases like “you’re listening to White Market on Spark” had to slowly fade their way out of the show.

Having different broadcast days for each station also comes at a cost. Even though this issue is a bit subtler at the minute, it was particularly problematic on the first episode that aired on Soundart Radio – the FSFE Summit special went out on Spark FM the Thursday before the event, but it aired after the event on Soundart. Similarly, the Netlabel Day 2016 episode would not have had the same links and remarks if it had aired on a different day, since it coincided with the initiative.

There is something, however, very specific to the show that requires WMP to assume a certain local identity. The show’s emphasis on copyright alternatives can only be done in relation to a specific administrative territory, since copyright is – above everything – a territorial regulation. For this, White Market Podcast local identity is European. Also, despite having been produced in three different countries (Portugal, Germany and UK), the show was always produced in Europe, so it makes only sense to cover copyright at this level.

Listening geographies

White Market Podcast has a global reach and focus. Despite being primarily European in terms of covering copyright policies, at its core the show remains as a hub for free music from all corners of the world (never played anything from Antarctica, but let know if there is any CC music out there!). Additionally, this season our list of interviewees also includes a variety of nationalities: Chilean, Romanian, Swedish, American and British (tune in for the next show, by the way).

While I have no data on listening figures from our FM broadcasts, judging by the feedback I get on social media and the stats of both this website and the podcast feed, I assume most of WMP listeners follow the show via podcast. WMP’s listeners spread across different countries, different time zones and even different continents. United States, United Kingdom and Germany sit at the top of the list, but I do not need to scroll much further down to find countries like Argentina, Japan and Russia, and the list goes on. It seems quite evident to me that if I chose to focus on the FM broadcast only, I would potentially be alienating most of my audience.

FM or podcast? Both.

As any other radio producer, my work is mainly guided by (what I assume are) the expectations and the needs of my audience. Nevertheless, there are some restrictions to my operation that I cannot ignore, and most of them sit on the radio side. On top of having to produce a show that fits the duration of the slot I am allocated to on FM stations, all my executive decisions have to be in accordance to Ofcom Broadcasting Code.

As I rewrote the “About” section on the website and on all platforms WMP is present on, I decided to stop referring to the show as “White Market” and call it “White Market Podcast” whenever possible. While it may sound odd at times if you are listening to it on the radio, the truth is that the show lives mostly as a podcast at the minute, because that is how it reaches its audience. I still produce it as a radio show in terms of sourcing content and audio editing, but I am always aware that I am actually producing a podcast. White Market Podcast is a podcast for radio.

It has been nearly three months since I started my academic project of transforming White Market Podcast into a syndication platform for community radio stations. As I am writing this text, I have produced 10 hours of radio content. Over the last couple of months, I have tried to increase the production value of the show by creating extra features and pieces, producing topical shows, and featuring more interviews. While the results have been very positive, this does come with a high cost: producing the show now takes longer than ever. Maybe because of this extra investment of time, it is arguably the most successful season so far – certainly the best one since the show started being produced in English. On this first White Market in Context, I would like to tell you a bit more about the production process of the show and the effort involved in it.

Live vs Pre-recording

Back in 2008, when White Market Podcast was still Programa Marca Branca, the production process was mainly determined by the fact that it was airing on a community radio station, Portuguese Radio Zero. The show aired first and the podcast would be online about an hour later. While most of the sessions were pre-recorded, they were recorded “as live”, meaning that there was no editing once the recording was done. Pre-recording the show allowed extra flexibility to the station in terms of managing studio time (there was only one studio) and to its volunteers in terms of fitting volunteer radio practice within their busy daily schedules. While there were some live episodes, between 2008 and 2013, the majority of the sessions was pre-recorded.

When, in 2014, Programa Marca Branca transformed into White Market Podcast, the show was only a podcast for the first time ever. Given my equipment limitations at the time, the episodes were always pre-recorded, but not as live. This was particularly useful from the production point of view. As I was navigating into making the show in my second language, having the safe harbour of editing was extremely important for me. On top of that, since the “as live” had been dropped, I had to introduce a series of new procedures to the production process.

For the first time ever, I was scripting the full show, as well as editing it and mixing it in post-production. Also for the first time ever, I did not have the demands of broadcast times telling me when I needed to have a new show ready. Although this was not an issue in the beginning, after a couple of weeks, it was rather clear that it was deal-breaker for me. Not having that pressure combined with the fact that I had very little feedback from the community and the extremely long production time that each show required were the deadly cocktail that killed that very short season (WMP’s first season had 6 episodes only).

In 2015, I started doing White Market Podcast on Spark Sunderland, where the practice of radio is mainly done live. Despite removing things such as post-production editing and mixing from the previously instated workflow, this did not reduce the production time of each episode significantly. After a second season with nearly two dozens of episodes, right now I am back to the pre-recorded model due to personal choice. Pre-recording the show increases its production value mainly due to my own limitations as a non-native speaker, as I don’t have to simultaneous translate things while worrying about things such as talk time, pressing buttons, and putting faders up and down.

Ever since the show got rebranded and started being done in English, each episode takes at least about 8 hours to produce, but that is easily increased whenever there are special features. Although those pieces make that figure sky rocket, at times more than doubling it, interviews tend to reduce it slightly. When I say “to produce”, this is what I mean: finding and downloading the tracks, sourcing extra content, scripting and/or writing notes, recording, editing, mixing, and making content available online.

The noisy space of music

Most of the production time is dedicated to curating free music. I have already written here how it can be quite overwhelming to dive into the world of free music. Not only things are quite dispersed, “free music” means much more than just “free download”. Only Creative Commons-licenced tracks have a place on White Market Podcast. This means that while I may find loads of free-to-download tracks, if I can’t find the CC stamp on them, they are not suitable for the show. Furthermore, not all websites are easy to navigate, and the amount of noise I have to scavenge through is very high. Last but definitely not the least, as the show currently airs in two English community radio stations, I have to take that into account, as well as Ofcom regulations. This means no explicit lyrics. Since the show fits a one hour slot, I also try to avoid tracks longer than 5min.

Just a few clicks? Not quite.

I will write more about some of the specificities of podcasting vs traditional radio, but for now, I would like to focus on the production effort of multimedia content.

Every White Market Podcast episode includes some extra web content/documentation. Each session is made available via a blog post, which also feeds the podcast feed. This blog post includes a short text about what is featured on the show (something that usually ranges between 100-250 words), as well as its full playlist. Publishing the playlist also has a system to it: on top of listing the artist and the title of each track, I also include the original source with links, as well as its CC licence with  a link. While I start working on this as I pick tracks and download them, this does take a fair amount of time to do.

Once all this is ready, there are two things missing: the podcast itself and a featured image, which of course has to be licenced under Creative Commons as well. Choosing the featured image was something that it used to take me quite a while, but that it has been significantly better since I have started using Unsplash. Not that Flickr wasn’t good enough, but I often struggled with low-resolution pictures.

The podcast is hosted on Archive.org as part of our commitment to provide free content. Before uploading the audio file, I also edit its ID3Tag so that it looks all neat on the podcast feed and on your media players. When uploading it, I copy the text I already made for the blog, but since their CMS is not the most user-friendly and there are specific things that cannot be copied across, this is not always as straight forward as it looks. Additionally, the upload speed is usually fairly low.

In the last couple of months, as I made different edits of interviews and special features available separately (things such as “Linux 25 – The Story of Linux“, “The 2016 Copyright Reform Proposal“), the amount of time I spend creating online content has nearly doubled. While there is still a myth that “putting things online” is super quick, if you do it with a high production value, that is certainly not the case.

White Market in Context” is a series of texts with reflections and explanations about White Market Podcast. Each text will offer a different approach to WMP’s work, in an attempt to deliver some deeper insights into the project, its production processes and its reach. As this is still part of my academic project, expect quotes and references, and probably some more elaborate writing. However, I would like to state very clearly that these texts are not supposed to be full academic essays. Instead, they should be seen as support material to White Market Podcast’s work as a whole.

This week, we dedicate some time and love to highlight the wonderful work of Free Music Archive. We only featured tracks that can be found on FMA, and we sat down to talk to Cheyenne Hohman, the Free Music Archive’s director. We talked about their current fundraiser, their work with curators and artists, the challenges they face and how anyone can help them.

Taseh – Caramella Peak // CC BY-NC-SA
Broke For Free – Night Owl // CC BY
BlunderBox – My Walls Ate My Sister’s Dog // CC BY-NC-SA
DNVN – Aching Again // CC BY-NC
XR Tabs – G Girls // CC BY-NC-ND
Podington Bear – Streetbeat Heat // CC BY-NC
Kevin MacLeod – Aurea Carmina – Full Mix // CC BY
Fhernando – (I need ya) L.O.V.E. // CC BY-NC-SA
The Dirty Moogs – Space Girlfriend (Instrumental) // CC BY-NC

The interview includes the following track as background music: Darksunn – Forget Me Nots // CC BY-NC-SA

 

 

Following the reveal of the EU Copyright Reform Proposal, this show had to feature it. The text is a disappointment, but there’s still a lot that can be done to make it change. The piece is available for separate download in a variety of formats, so make sure you share it, remix it, use it for whatever you need, just spread the word!

We also went aboard the public domain ship, once again, and found a bit more about “The Little Prince”. Last but not the least, we brought you more than a handful of awesome free tracks – most of them with permissions for remixing.

You might have noticed that the podcast was only made available a few days later than usual. That’s because our slot on Spark Sunderland has moved to Sundays at 9pm.

Randy Hobbs – Loving You [OMEAC Records] // CC BY-NC-SA
cultureculture – Ashton Kuther, Come Back [Bandcamp] // CC BY-NC-SA
mus.hiba – hitomi (feat. Abigail Press) [Bunkai-Kei] // CC BY-NC-SA
Jahzzar – Vault [FMA] // CC BY-SA
Alex Finch – Because You Hold Me Tight [Needle Drop Co.] // CC BY-NC-SA
Sax on the Road – Mouraria Music Club [ZigurArtists] // CC BY-NC-SA
Chicocorrea – Zum Zum [Cassette Blog] // CC BY-NC-SA
Tab & Anitek – ToyNBee [Jamendo] // CC BY-NC-ND
Jasmine Jordan – Smile [Jamendo] // CC BY-NC-ND
Ziegler Co. – Waking Up At Sunset [Foof Records] // CC BY-NC-SA
notforme! – These Words Are Now Colours [Southern City’s Lab] // CC BY-NC-SA


.: Photo by Dennis Skley :. CC BY-ND

The 2016 EU Copyright Reform Proposal is out and it’s an absolute disaster, particularly for creators and internet users. From officially proposing a link tax to not safeguarding freedom of panorama, Commissioner Oettinger’s text goes against what many hoped would be a jump towards a progressive and more inclusive legislation. It is worth noting that this proposal still has to be approved by both the EU Commission and the EU Parliament. Additionally, MEPs from various political groups have already spoken against it. However, it’s incredibly disappointing and startling how the text turned out this way, after months of negotiations, different public consultations and persistent warnings from various civil groups.

You can help stop this. You can start by writing to your MEPs – tell them why this proposal is so harmful for users, for your community, for your projects and for yourself. Join the voices that have already spoken against this proposal by telling your friends and family how this might affect them. Go to savethelink.org and join the nearly 120k that want to make sure our right to link content is clear. Join your local activist group… There are many ways you can help prevent this EU Copyright Reform Proposal from going through.

You can also download WMP audio piece on Archive.org in a variety of formats, share, remix it and rebroadcast it. It is available under a Creative Commons Attribution licence, meaning that you have no restrictions to use it besides crediting White Market Podcast’s authorship.

Credits

This audio piece uses the following works by third-parties (in order of appearance):

 

White Market Podcast was distinguished with the Silver Innovation Award of the Year at the Community Radio Awards 2016. White Market Podcast’s entry highlighted its multiplatform work, as well as its community-focused ethos.

Personally, I would like to thank all the artists that keep publishing their music under Creative Commons licences, to all the guests that agreed to be interviewed for the show over the years and, of course, to those who keep listening to the show. On top of this, I would also like to thank Lisa Twohig, who co-produced some of the sessions last year. It is only fair to say that this award was powered by the whole copyleft music community, and that without you all there wouldn’t be a White Market Podcast.

White Market Podcast’s silver award was one of the seven awards Spark FM took home last Saturday.

 

On this week’s show we wandered between some of our favourite old picks, which somehow ended up on a session full of melancholic vibes. On top of the carefully picked music, we also premiered a brand new feature dedicated to works in the public domain called “All Aboard“. The feature will be available for separate download soon.

Last but not least, a very important message: our friends at Free Music Archive are running a fundraiser to help them support the bandwidth costs of hosting so much amazing music. If you can, by all means do make a donation. If you’re particularly generous, you can grab one of some merch, like their newest t-shirts (and they look proper swish).

Donate to FMA

Pop Booth – Corners [Broque] // CC BY-NC-ND
Hip Nothings – California [Test Tube] // CC BY-NC-ND
Queridas – Creyente [Bandcamp] // CC BY-NC-ND
MAKUTA – Remind Me to Forget (You) [bumpfoot] // CC BY-NC-SA
Tiago Sousa – The Writer [Resting Bell] // CC BY-NC-ND
Plaistow – Stase Psychique [Insub] // CC BY-NC-ND
Bluebridge Quartet – Spektrum [Aerotone] // CC BY-SA
Weigl & Hoffmann – The Grass Is Greener (Gate-Zero remix) [iD.Eology]  // CC BY-NC-ND
Bosques de Mi Mente – Hermana *
Susan Matthews – The Road From Veliko (part one) [Pilot Eleven] // CC BY-NC-ND
Rom Com – Astronaut [FMA] // CC BY-SA

*Following the author’s request, this track is no longer available under CC.