I see that Shamus is offline for going above bandwidth 🙁 (UPDATE: he’s back!) The likely culprit is his brilliant “DM of the RIngs” parody which reinterprets The Lord of the Rings as a D&D gaming session. It’s a concern that all of us hobbyist bloggers, especially in the otakusphere, should share – we tend to put creative things online, be they motivational posters or site maps or videos of our kids or audio samples from our favorite science fiction. The assumption we make in putting them online is that only a small circle of readers will partake of our binary goodies, which is the essential opposite of the political blogsphere in which the only output is text and everyone wants to get the Big Link.
One way to reduce our vulnerability is to use thirdparty services. YouTube for video and Flickr for photos (or comics) are obvious solutions. But what about audio? Is there a Flickr/YouTube for pure sound? It would be pretty interesting. An obvious but utterly illegal use for such a service would be to put your music collection online so no one could access it. If you were able to password protect your audio links however then you could upload copyrighted content for your personal exclusive use. However, I doubt such a solution would satisfy the RIAA given that they took on mp3.com a few years ago for a similar scheme. Still, maybe the RIAA sees the benefits of YouTube’s collaboration with the MPAA and might be open to fresh thinking. Or maybe not.
But would an audio sharing site have any appeal without copyrighted content? Most would argue no, but I can see a lot of people using it for their own stuff. There’s an active MIDI community for example that would probably love a YouTube-like interface to simplify their filesharing. Brief excerpts from popular radio and TV are also probably justified under fair use, as well. And of course voice recorders are almost ubiquitous now on digital cameras and cell phones and mp3 players, so baby’s first words and ad-hoc skits and even random interviews might onstitute a large fraction of the content. I know that in college my friends and I experimented with WAV files and microphones for all sorts of things… Today’s computing environment affords exponentially more capability.
So, does such a service already exist? should it exist? what should it be called?
Update: an interesting blog post about audio sharing. And there’s already a service called Odeo which has some of the functionality that I am looking for, and seems tailored to podcasts in particular (which is an obvious application of such a audio-sharing site). Odeo seemed to have been founded by Evhead of Blogger fame, and there’s already a WordPress plugin. Seems promising. I’ll have to play with this thing further…