ODEO... NEW PODCASTING STARTUP
A new startup by Blogger co-founder and recent Google employee, Evan Williams, and Noah Glass. I wonder how Odeo and podcasting in general are going to affect companies like AudioFeast (who i wrote about after i visited their office when they were serenade systems last year and didn't have $10 million from Mayfield and others), who provide radio programming to MP3 users for a fee? Anyway, check out the NY Times piece on Odeo and read Evan's post on their company blog, which is pretty cool and about some of the vision behind the company:
The primarily amateur Internet audio medium known as podcasting will take a small, hopeful step on Friday toward becoming the commercial Web's next big thing.
That step is planned by Odeo, a five-person start-up that is based in a walk-up apartment in this city's Mission District and was co-founded by a Google alumnus. The company plans to introduce a Web-based system that is aimed at making a business of podcasting - the process of creating, finding, organizing and listening to digital audio files that range from living-room ramblings to BBC newscasts.
Audio files on the Internet are nothing new, of course. But the recent proliferation of portable iPods and other devices for storing and playing files in the MP3 audio format has created a mobile audience in this country - more than 11 million and growing - on whom podcasters are counting to listen to much more than downloaded songs and the occasional audio book.
The question for Odeo, and for the many other entrepreneurial efforts almost certain to come, is whether there is any money to be made from podcasting. Recall that the dot-com boom was full of start-ups betting on one or another notion of the Web's potential. But for every felicitous pairing like Google and keyword searching, there were dozens of broken marriages like Pets.com and online dogfood sales.
In podcasting, there are already a number of small commercial efforts to create audio programs especially for listening to as mobile downloads. And there are both hardware and software systems that make it possible to convert over-the-air and Internet radio broadcasts for mobile storage and listening on MP3 players. One recent example is Radio Shark, a small device that sells for $70 and enables users of Macintosh computers to automatically record over-the-air radio programs and convert them to MP3 files for later, on-the-go playback. (full article)