Podcast review: When is a podcast not a podcast?

I play acoustic guitar and have been thinking about how to incorporate music into podcasts in more integral ways than the catchy intro and exit stings we lift from Garageband. The first result to turn up under a search for “acoustic music podcasts” was a winner called “The Acoustic Version of the Hits, the Unknowns, the Covers, and the Originals.” t’s like a podcasting version of MTV’s “Unplugged.”

The home page offers a menu of four categories: Originals, Covers, Humor and Lessons. The format includes text previews of featured performances along with the YouTube videos. I give it high marks for offering a variety of styles and artists in a format that’s easy to surf and sample. One of the headaches, or should I say ear-aches, of surfing music performances on YouTube is that there’s usually no way of telling if a video is going to be of listenable quality until you invest at least 30 seconds in it. More often than not, even videos of well-known artists turn out to be crap shot on a fan’s cell phone.

One of the great things about The Acoustic Version is that they’ve addressed the crap problem by being an old-fashioned gatekeeper. They’ve done us the great favor of weeding out the crap. The quality of the videos I sampled were perfectly adequate, which passes for excellent by Internet standards. The Goggle ads are relevant to musicians. Even the guitar lesson on how to play George Harrison’s arrangement of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” was good instruction that even beginners could follow.

The podcast part of this package consists entirely of the music performances, and, alas, the audio of these do not appear to be downloadable for obvious copyright challenges, since many of the videos are covers of published songs. Which raises the question: does podcast audio have to be transferable to a device other than my computer for the content to be technically be a podcast?

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