GarageBand Launches Podcasting Tools

GarageBand.com has launched Gcast, a free service for creating and hosting podcasts that eventually will be supported by advertising.

Gcast offers free hosting and podcast creation tools, including one to update podcasts by telephone. The service is free for users, and there are plans to sell audio ads on the podcasts once an audience is built up, according to Ali Partovi, CEO of GarageBand.com.

“We’ve already seen a healthy level of demand from our existing advertisers, but we don’t want to negatively affect the user experience by putting ads in too soon,” Partovi told ClickZ News. “It will be a gradual process to bring in advertising over time.”

Partovi expects the ads to be :10 or :15 in-stream audio ads — short enough to make it too much trouble to fast-forward past them.

“People only tolerate 30-second or 60-second ads on FM radio because they don’t have any other choices. With podcasts, it’s easy for a listener to skip over an ad,” he said.

GarageBand.com’s currently offers primarily rich media ads as the majority of its visitors have broadband connections. Advertisers include those targeting musicians, as well as CPG products with broader appeal to music fans. The site’s largest advertisers include Budweiser and Klipsch speakers, both of which have mini-sites built by GarageBand on their own Web sites.

Users can also play songs from GarageBand.com’s podsafe music catalog. Artists who offer their music for download on GarageBand.com are given the option to choose how restrictive they wish to be with their song rights. They can limit all downloads, only allow downloads from GarageBand’s servers, or offer the music under a Creative Commons license, under which anyone can download and share the songs.

Gcast users have access to music in the latter two categories, while podcasters outside the service can use only the Creative Commons-licensed music. Most of the songs on GarageBand.com are licensed to be downloaded from GarageBand’s servers, Partovi said.

Partovi was a co-founder of LinkExchange, an affiliate marketing network that was later sold. He credits his experience building that business with the success he has so far found with GarageBand.

“LinkExchange was about figuring out how to monetize the long tail. That’s very relevant to what we’re doing with Gcast. We expect to have some large podcasts, along with a long tail of content,” he said.

One large podcast on Gcast is the One.org podcast, debuting today. The World AIDS Day ONEcast will feature Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa; Bono, lead singer of U2 and co-founder of DATA (Debt, AIDS, Trade for Africa); and Chris Martin of Coldplay, along with members of the faith community and other ONE supporters.

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