Library Time – a song and video from my Library

The short version: My library wrote and recorded a song, and here’s the Youtube video for it! You can also:

 Longer version: Why did we do this?

Earlier this year, my library remodeled the kids area of the library and rebranded it the Kids Library. Part of our grand opening included some of our YA staff writing a song, and library staff performed the song at the grand opening (I played drums! Video here).

Our Marketing Director liked the song so much that she sent the “library band” to a local recording studio to have the song professionally recorded.

Then we decided to go all out with it. I did a number of things with the song:

  • registered the song with the Copyright office.
  • set up a CDBaby account for the library. CDBaby allows us to easily get a song into iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, etc for purchase.
  • yes – we’re in iTunes!
  • the library now has a Soundcloud account.
  • and we made a music video for the song. Because these days, EVERY new song needs a Youtube music video, right?

What’s our goal? We simply want to share the song on our website, with our community, and with other libraries and librarians. The nice thing about the song? It’s very library-focused. So if other libraries wanted to use the song as opening theme music for their kids events, it might work well.

Difficulties along the way. There was a bit of a learning curve for me, mainly with CDBaby:

  • CDBaby is pretty strict with band names. We couldn’t be “the Topeka & Shawnee County Public Library Band.” Apparently, you’re not supposed to mention brands or corporations in band names or album art. So the library band’s name is “The Literaries.”
  • CDBaby has two pricing options for songs – a basic one and a Pro version that includes ASCAP or BMI registration for broadcast royalties. Again, because this song was a work for hire by an organization, we couldn’t easily register the song. You can only sign up for ASCAP or BMI as an actual person/songwriter (not as an organization).

So – watch some of us (including yours truly) be a bit goofy and have some fun in the video. Listen to the song. If you think it might work for your library (or if you just like the song), please buy it!

Will Copyright Catch up?

A couple days ago, I had an interesting “teaching moment” with my 14 year old. That evening, we decided to watch a movie. Usually we either pick a streaming movie off of Netflix or rent something from iTunes (yes, and once in awhile borrow it from the library).

This time, we wanted to watch Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Guess what? It was nowhere to be found. Disney has a weird practice of placing a sort of moratorium on their movies – meaning, you can’t buy or rent some of them. Not even from the Disney Store.

Anyway … mad librarian searching pro that I am … I solved our “we want to watch a movie” problem pretty easily. I did a quick Google search for beauty and the beast full movie and found a rogue streaming version that we could watch. We watched it, it worked fine, and we had a fun evening.

Afterwards, the 14 year old was asking why the movie was so hard to find, so I explained what Disney does with their movies, and how someone had decided to burn their DVD and upload the movie to a file sharing site, probably to “solve the problem.” And the fact that that’s sorta illegal. And that watching the illegal stream is probably a bit shady, too.

Ultimately, I was able to explain to my daughter how those copyright rules worked great before she was born, but they don’t really work now. Copyright in today’s world is kind of like enforcing a “no chewing gum within city limits” law. Impossible at best, ridiculously silly to attempt to enforce at worst.

Why? Because the web is so easy to use, and because there are so many file sharing and multimedia streaming sites. I’ll guess that if we tried hard enough, we could have watched the whole movie in chunks on Youtube. People like uploading movies and TV shows in chunks on Youtube. Slightly inconvenient, but it works.

In my family’s movie-watching case, who broke the law? Did we by watching? Did someone else by burning and uploading? Did the file sharing site, by providing a place to store files? Did AT&T, by providing my DSL line? The answer is probably … yes.

Is copyright broken? The answer is also a resounding yes. Can it be fixed? Probably so. I’m certainly no copyright expert, but I know it’s not working. Will it catch up to the 21st century? What do you think?

Notes on Podcasting

These are some notes I took on podcasting at last fall’s Podcamp Topeka. I “rediscovered” them, and decided they could be useful to some of you.

Rob Walch, who’s Vice President of Podcaster Relations for Wizzard Media/Libsyn and does the Today in iOS podcast, gave this presentation. Here are the notes – maybe more libraries need to start a podcast!

Some podcasting facts:

  • There are over 1.8 million blogs, but only 200,000 podcasts
  • Podcasting is much easier to listen to now. You can still do it the old way – dump it to an iPod. But you can also use an app, download directly from iTunes to your iPod, or just listen on the web.
  • Podcasts have really loyal audiences – one podcast has listeners who are getting tattoos related to the podcast!
  • Audio is much more popular than video podcasts. Audio is much more portable.

iTunes and podcasting:

  • iTunes is really important to the success of a podcast
  • The podcast’s title is really important, especially in iTunes. Make sure to stuff keywords into the title, because that’s a primary keyword area for iTunes.
  • Artwork has to be great on iTunes. There are apparently two guys at Apple who pick featured podcasts for the podcast app, and they don’t pick bad artwork…

September 2012 podcasting stats from Libsyn (a major podcasting service):

  • 50% got 153 downloads per episode
  • 20% – 1000 downloads
  • 10% – 4000 downloads
  • 8.6 % – 5000 downloads per episode
  • 5% 10,400
  • 1% – 50,000
  • If you can get to 1000 listeners, you are doing an awesome job

Submit your podcast to:

  • iTunes
  • Podcast411.com – directories
  • Zune next best place
  • Blackberry podcasts

Some How-To’s for Podcasting:

  • One mic – you hold it, you are in control of it.
  • Don’t host on your website. If you store your media files there, and your podcast gets too popular, your whole website might shut down… that means you have shut your whole business down. So host the podcast somewhere else….
  • Frequency sweet spot … Weekly and consistent – like every Friday. You will be put into people’s routines. Same day, same time
  • Edit! Hugely important. Even in interviews. Editing is good. Remove ums, ahs, etc.
  • Prepare – do some prep work.
  • Get a call in number for your show and leave voice mail messages. If people hear themselves, they share it. Especially teens…

Pic by owaief89