Saturday, April 01, 2006


earhead#101111 is a music blog devoted to discovering podsafe music on the internet. All music featured on the blog is podsafe (please read the section below if you don't know what that means). Links to external websites open in a new tab or window.

Tips about using earhead#101111.

The blog is divided into a main column and a sidebar. The sidebar has lists of links that are music related. Many links are resources for discovering podsafe music in all music genres.

The main column offers brief articles covering music I like, net labels I find interesting, or other music related stuff. Net labels are internet record labels that often have a variety of artists. I just feature the artists I like, but check the net label website out, you may find other artists you like at a net label.

When music is featured, it looks something like this:

Sarana: Part 4

Michael Franti and Spearhead: Yell Fire

There is a link to the music website, a blue play button and a music file download link. In the example above, music shared by Sarana, is called "Part 4". While the music plays, click the word playing to pause. Click the red stop button, or another blue play button to stop the current song. The music may not start playing due to any number of technical glitches. In that case, try downloading the music file to play it in a music player, or visit the artist website.

While the music is playing, you can bookmark the music at by clicking on tag this (visit to find out why you'd want to do that). To download the music file, right-click on the download link and select Save link as..., then follow the save file dialog to save the file onto your computer.

How do I download music?

You can download music files from the download links on the blog, however, there's usually a lot more music where that came from. Visit the artist or net label website. It's the link to the left of the play button. If you don't see a specific "download" link, look for "releases" or "mp3" files. Right click on the file's download link, and choose "Save link as".

Sometimes downloads are offered as zip or rar files containing many mp3 files. Windows XP supports zip files: right click on the file, then select "Open with..." compressed folders. A very useful program for extracting files from downloaded archives is 7-Zip, it extracts files from zip and rar formats, there are versions for both Windows and Mac OS/X at the 7-zip site.

Sometimes downloads are offered as torrents. Torrents are shared downloads: the files are broken into pieces and individual pieces come from other people who have already downloaded the file. Popular files will download quickly, but less popular ones can take a while before the system has found all the pieces. This all happens behind the scenes, a download tracker tells you how far in the process your download is. The software to download torrents is called bittorrent, you must install it before a download can start.

What is Podsafe Music?

Podsafe music is music that is shared by artists with listeners. It is called podsafe because the artist has either given you a license to download and share it, or offered it to you as a gift or a promotion so you can sample their music. If you intend any other use, check back on the artist web site or with the artist to see if the artist permits your intended use.

Why should I care about podsafe music?

There are only three ways to get music onto your computer or music player legally. You can copy (rip) CD's you purchase, you can purchase or subscribe to music from an online music download store, or you can copy podsafe music from the internet. Music shared by the artist costs you nothing. Artists earn about 2 cents for every dollar paid to a music download store. They earn more when you purchase a CD.

So how does the artist make money?

Support your favorite artists by buying their CD's, buying their merchandise, going to their performances, telling other people about them, and/or giving them money.

What is Creative Commons?

Creative Commons is a licensing system for creative works. It allows the artist to retain as much control of their work as they want, while at the same time allowing them to share their work with others, with some or no restrictions. If you want to share music you've discovered with others, always check the license at the artists website. You can learn more about Creative Commons here.

This is a video about Creative Commons:

What is music shared for promotional purposes?

Many artists share music with their fans either as a gift, or to promote their work. Usually, they don't specify any rights for this music. Obviously, downloading is ok, but I'm not really clear if any other rights are included. Use your own judgement about how you use music shared by the artist like this.

What gear do I need to use downloaded music?

I use the following software to manage my music collection:

  • A File Manager/Explorer, to organize music files into folders, and copy them to my music player.
  • Winamp, my default music player, I rip CD's I purchase to vbr (variable bit rate) mp3.
  • Songbird, to read music blogs and listen to featured music.
  • Audacity, to edit music files (I rarely use this, but it has come in handy a few times, particularly for voice recordings).

I use an 8GB Creative Zen music player.

  • Ultimate Ears, Super.Fi 3 Studio earbuds
  • Sennheiser HD497, open-back headphones (allow ambient noise in).
  • Edifier MP300, external travel speakers

Updated June 6, 2009

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