Podcasts: More Medium Than Message?
It’s summer in the city, but the heat isn’t slowing down the pace of life and I have only one set of ears, so every night when 8 p.m. rolls around, I miss a few more concerts I had hoped to hear. Could my iPod save me?
If you aren’t one to obsess over the latest Internet trends, you might have missed that fact that blogs are old news; podcasts are what’s hot this summer. Named after that sexy must-have accessory the iPod, podcasting is what you might equate with a subscription-based radio show for busy people. You set up what you want to receive and forget about it. New episodes are then delivered right to your computer as they become available. You can listen whenever you want.
Composer William Duckworth and his partner in crime Nora Farrell have dedicated quite a bit of their artistic efforts to keeping the new music field technologically current through their interactive, web-based Cathedral project. They are once again standing at the edge of the technology curve by launching The Memory Theater, an iPod opera. You can subscribe or listen online by visiting the Cathedral website.
The project kicked off on April 10, and a new program will be added every two weeks through February 24, 2007. Four programs are up now to get you started, showcasing music created by the Cathedral Band. The tracks run a gamut of styles, but are currently heavy on the narration and the international flavor. Since each “episode” runs less than 8 minutes, you might think of it as Forrest Gump-style consumption of free aural bon-bons.
Still, any new delivery mechanism begs the question: What does the medium add to the message? Does hip technology distract from the art?