Ordering the Amazon Echo Dot

Amazon just unveiled two new devices today which use the Alexa Voice Services. They are the Echo Dot and the Echo Tap and are both smaller than the original Amazon Echo and seem to be intended to be complimentary to it; a less expensive way to add "Alexa" to multiple rooms of your home. The Dot is a small hockey puck sized device and the Tap is a cylinder about the size of a 16 oz. aluminum can.

The Dot is currently only available to Amazon Prime members and you must order by speaking to your Echo device. You must have enabled "Voice Purchasing" in the Alexa app and have set your 1-click payment options before you can place your order. (Click here for instructions on how to do that.)

I ordered the Echo Dot and recorded the exchange so you can see how simple and quick it is. In under a minute, the order was placed.

Still image from the Dot promo video

For more info see the links below. 

Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo Dot
Amazon Echo Tap
Amazon Prime

(This post contains affiliate links.)

Is FeedBurner's Future Brighter?

Given the fact that Google is now taking an interest in podcasting by adding them to Google Play Music does that mean that they will begin supporting podcasters in other ways also? There are a couple of Google services which could help the community even more if Google would take a little time to tweak a few things here and there.


Google's RSS feed service, FeedBurner, has long been thought to be on it's way out by many leading voices in the podcast industry. It has been the cause of some compatibility issues over the last couple of years and has been largely untouched by Google for quite a while. But for podcast creators who are creating a show strictly as a hobby and have no desire to monetize their show and are not willing to pay recurring monthly fees for web and/or media hosting, FeedBurner is still one of the only options for creating an RSS feed which has the required elements for podcasting. My hope is that this news about Google Play Music means that Google will also begin to give FeedBurner some much-needed attention. (By the way, they did update the logo to match their new look so they haven't completely abandoned it.)


Blogger has been a popular tool for many years for folks wanting to have a personal blog to share with family and friends. There has also been some use of the service for more professional blogs, but WordPress seems to be the platform of choice for those users. Although Blogger does have several features which are great for podcasting, (URL redirection for creating short slugs to redirect to posts, support for media enclosures in the post editor, etc.) there are more things that could be added to the tool to make it more accessible for podcasting.

Google Voice

I've been a user of Google Voice since it's original incarnation as Grand Central. My GV number has been my primary one for many years. But I have also been using a separate Voice number as a feedback hotline for my podcast network for several years as well. This has been a great option for us and it would be wonderful to see Google make this tool a bit more adaptable for this use case. In particular, I'd like to see the ability to customize the website call-in widgets and the ability to upload an mp3 file as my default voicemail greeting.

Without a doubt, the fact that Google has entered into the podcasting space is a good sign for podcasters. I'm hopeful that this move is the first in a series of moves that Google makes to show the podcasting community that they're interested in supporting them. There are many ways for them to improve their tools for podcasters and let's hope that the team working on this project is willing to engage with the community to see how we might work together.

What are your thoughts on these issues? Let me know in the comments below.

Google Embraces Podcasting: Podcasts To Be Added To Google Play Music

There has been an exciting development since my post from a couple months ago entitled, Hey Google! Where's The Love For Podcasting? Yesterday, October 27, 2015, Google announced via their Official Android blog that they’ve launched a Podcast Portal for show producers to submit their content for inclusion in the soon-to-be rolled out podcast directory in Google Play Music (GPM). This is very exciting news for podcast creators as this will open up this medium to a potentially massive audience. In my opinion, this is a long overdue move by Google, but I’m very glad to see that they’re making a move into the space and I’m very optimistic about the possibilities.

The submission process is very quick and easy. You simply navigate to the Podcast Portal, paste in your RSS feed URL. Google then looks at the email address in your feed and will send you an ownership verification code to that email address. Either paste that code into the filed in the Podcast Portal or click the link in the email. Next, the RSS feed info will populate into the system and you just click the button to submit your show. You’ll then receive an email letting you know that you’re show has been reviewed.

GPM approval email

Here’s a recap of the 3 step submission process:

  1. Provide your RSS feed
  2. Verify ownership
  3. Submit your show

All three of the shows I’ve submitted thus far have been reviewed and approved within just a few minutes. If your show is rejected for some reason I assume that you will receive notification of that as well. Just remember that the actual user interface has not yet launched. At this point, the Google Play Music team is just trying to build up the catalog of shows so the content is readily available at the time of public launch.

Screenshot of a show listing in the GPM Podcast Portal

For more information and details about this development I’d recommend listening to a special episode of Libsyn’s The Feed podcast in which Rob Walch interviews Googler, Elias Roman. The interview is contained in the first 15 minutes of the episode, but if you use Libsyn as your media host then it’s worth listening to the full episode to learn how Libsyn will be interfacing with GPM.

Again, I’m very excited about this move by Google. It seems that they are finally taking podcasting seriously. Now if they’d just get Feedburner up to date…


Google's Announcement
GPM Podcast Portal
The Feed Interview

Hey Google! Where's The Love For Podcasting?

Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of many Google products and services and I am also an Android user and a Chromebook owner. I love Gmail, Google Apps, Chrome, etc. But I have a gripe with the folks in Mountain View. Hey Google! Where's the love for podcasting?

Image Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/users/DWilliams-720409/

In recent years Google has seemed to be severing any connection to podcasting and RSS feeds in general. The most notable instances of this departure are the killing of Google Listen (Google’s official Android app for podcasts), the shutting down of Google Reader, and the virtual abandonment of the Feedburner tool. Google purchased Feedburner in June of 2007 and for years Feedburner was an extremely valuable tool to the podcasting community. But Google has done nothing to keep Feedburner up-to-date with the latest specs nor has it updated the interface or features giving many folks in the podcast industry the impression that it will be the next service on the chopping block.

4 Options For Using Music In Your Podcast

When working with podcasting clients one of the most frequent issues that comes up is regarding the use of music in a podcast. There are several different questions, but they all revolve around the same issue. Where can I find music that I can use? Can I use [insert popular song title here] in my podcast? Is it illegal to use certain music? How do I obtain a license to use this song? Are there potential copyright infringement issues when using music in our podcasts?

Image Credit: http://www.morguefile.com/creative/MrSickboy50

Legal Mumbo Jumbo

Before we tackle these questions, let me clarify a couple of points with the disclaimer that I am not a lawyer and this should not be construed as legal advice. Every piece of music that is composed is copyrighted by the person who created it regardless of whether or not it is included on a CD and distributed under contract with a major record label. So anytime you use any bit of music, you are using copyrighted music. It doesn't matter how long the piece of music is (the 30 second rule is balderdash); if you play it, you're infringing on their copyright. The issue is whether or not you have the permission, rights or license to use that music. In the case of a popular song that you might hear on the radio, it gets even more complicated since there are many different parties who have rights to that piece of music including, but not limited to, the record company and the songwriter. Crediting the artist is not sufficient to protect yourself from a potential lawsuit.

The Four Options

There are 4 different approaches to using music as a theme or an intro/outro for your podcast. These also apply to using background/transition music in your show. The 4 options are songs from a popular recording artist, royalty free music, working with independent artists, and finally, custom composed music. Let's take a couple of minutes and break down each of these options and evaluate the pros and cons.

1. Music by Popular Recording Artists

This option is nice because there are many songs whose lyrics or music are familiar to many people and you might feel that the message of that song fits perfectly with the goals or topic of your podcast. But the cons are that it is very difficult to obtain a license to use a popular song in your podcast and it can also be very expensive. The record companies are still not sure how to handle this type of license and therefore it is often a very cumbersome process. If you're willing to sort out all the legalities to obtain all the necessary permissions then feel free to go for it. You may also choose to just accept the risk of a potential lawsuit for copyright infringement and use the song without permission. The choice is entirely up to you, but I'd strongly urge you not to do that.

2. Royalty Free Music

There are many different sources online for obtaining royalty free music to use in your show. Some have very affordable prices, others require a more substantial investment and still others offer great tracks completely free and only require some sort of attribution. Many audio editing software programs also contain royalty free music that you can use. With any of these choices the benefit is you get a cool intro tune for free or relatively low cost investment. The downside is that the chances are pretty good that another podcast is using the same music as you are.

3. Independent Bands & Musicians

This can be a really great option for many podcasts. There is an abundance of indie artists who would be happy to allow you to use their music in exchange for a link back to their website or a mention in your show credits. There really aren't any major drawbacks to going down this route.

4. Custom Composed Music 

This is my favorite option. All of my current podcasts have theme music that was custom written for that particular show. I work directly with a composer who writes the music based on specific instructions that I give him. You may have a friend or local musician that you can work with to create the perfect intro tune for your show. You can also use a service like giftysong.com, musicradiocreative.com, or a composer on a site like fiverr.com. The obvious benefit of this option is you have a unique sound for your show that no other show has and you can create something that fits your show's branding like a glove. The only negative is that this option can potentially be quite costly.

Ultimately, there's not really a right or wrong choice. There's not even one option that is better than the rest, generally speaking. It all comes down to personal preference and which option fits best with the goals that you have for your podcast.


Google + discussion on the topic of music in podcasts 
Attorney Gordon Firemark's book for new media creators

Music Radio Creative - Custom Podcast Music
Gifty Song - Custom Music & Lyric Podcast Themes
Incompetech - Royalty Free Music
FreePlay Music - Royalty Free Music
YouTube Audio Library - Royalty Free Music
AudioJungle - Royalty Free Music
JewelBeat - Royalty Free Music
Partners In Rhyme - Royalty Free Music
The Music Bakery - Royalty Free Music

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. Should you purchase the products linked here, I will earn a commission. Thanks for using my links!

The Top Podcasts About Podcasting That Will Help You To Up Your Game And Stand Out From The Crowd

There are numerous podcasts about podcasting that address the various methods for and means to start podcasting. Most of us are familiar with the top shows by Dave Jackson, Cliff Ravenscraft, Ray Ortega, Daniel J. Lewis and Mike Dell, to name a few. While they are great shows, I'm not talking about those podcasts today. What I'd like to focus on are the shows that go beyond the how-tos and the gear, and dive into the business aspects of podcasting. The ones that talk about the strategies, industry trends, alternate ways of thinking, and generally just provide the information, insight, and inspiration to improve and expand your approach to all facets of your podcasting efforts.

Image Credit: http://pixabay.com/en/users/Ronile-126846/

My Mobile Podcasting Setup

Mobile Podcasting

There has been a lot of conversation in the podcasting world lately about podcasting outside of the studio. Mobile podcasting has become easier in recent years because of advances in smartphone/tablet computer technology. Professional podcaster, Ray Ortega's Podcasters' Roundtable devoted an entire episode to this topic and at NMX 2014, Rob Walch of popular media host, Libsyn, presented a talk about podcasting entirely with iOS devices.

What's The Big Deal with New and Noteworthy? - CCM006

It seems like over the last several months there has been a huge focus on iTunes New and Noteworthy. I've even heard several podcasting coaches and consultants talking about it an awful lot lately. Can I be little controversial here? I can't stand hearing about iTunes New and Noteworthy. To get your podcast into New and Noteworthy is not the be-all end-all of podcasting. I don't understand why so many people spend so much time and energy focusing on this one thing. And let me just say one thing here as a sidebar; it is not new and notable. It is New and Noteworthy. I've heard several people use the wrong terminology too.

What Can I Do For National Podcast Day? - CCM005

You may have already heard that September 30th has been named as National Podcast Day. Steve Lee from netcaststudio.com and a team of other great folks are heading up this initiative. The goal behind this project is to bring more awareness to this medium. But you may be thinking, "What can I do for National Podcast Day?"