that means my long campaign to listen to BBC programmes as MP3's, not streams, is finally getting traction. As I said then:
The trial means the BBC will offer its first daily podcasts - the Today programme's 8.10am interview - along with weekly titles and speech highlights from Radio 1 programmes for listeners to download and transfer to portable audio players. [...]
The three programmes taking part in the first mp3 download trial - In Our Time (Radio 4), Fighting Talk (Radio Five Live) and TX Unlimited (1Xtra) - were downloaded a total of 270,000 times in the first four months of the trial.
The fact that the Beeb is putting up single items from Today, rather than the whole show, is an important step - this move further along the road I outlined at Bloggercon 2003, to making online media more bloglike:
WHAT WE WANT:MP3's not streams - we don't always have a live internet connection. Instead of streaming RealMedia versions of recent programs we can only play on computers with live net connections, we want MP3 files we can download and play later on portable players.
WHY WE WANT IT:Taking programs with us while doing other things. We don't sit around the radio any more - why sit around the computer? Listening to spoken word radio while at a computer is unsatisfactory - it makes reading and writing text very difficult. Listening to spoken word radio on an iPod while cycling, walking the dog, riding on the bus or tube or even driving the car is much better.
Something I said a few times at Bloggercon is that video and audio are missing the essence of blogging. You can do live video, or you can use your computer to edit together a professional-looking video presentation, but the equivalent of the 'just-in-time' publishing that blogging provide is not there.If we can have an auto-assembled morning commute playlist of brief items from lots of people, rather than a 45-minute 'experience' from one, that is a great improvement for both listeners and creators.
Adam Curry and I had a chat about trying something more like blogging using the RSS 'enclosures'. I have the beginnings of a tool to automatically move audio posts into iTunes (and hence iPods) as I just can't listen to speech radio at the computer - I need to do it while driving.
The BBC Creative Archive proposals show promise here - imagine people mining 75 years of historic recordings for great snippets, like the wonderful Douglas Adams at the BBC CD set that brightened my commute last week.
What might block this is the parochial UK-only remit of the Creative Archive, and I have a suggestion there that I mentioned to various BBC hands at eTech - use the World Service 'Nation shall speak peace unto nation' remit too:
- Providing a forum for the exchange of ideas across cultural, linguistic and national boundaries.
- To be a global hub for high-quality information and communication.
- Promoting the English language, learning and interest in a modern, contemporary Britain.
- Offering a showcase for British talent across the world.
Sounds like a perfect match - let the World Service globalise the Creative Archive.