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Musical Threedom! Why Everybody Should Own an MP3 Player

MP3 players tell us a lot about ourselves, and not just what sort of music we enjoy on an individual level. The discovery of a rudimentary flute crafted from a vulture's wing-bone and found to be at least 35,000 years old tells us an awful lot about ourselves. Human beings need music, we thrive on it. As a way of communicating without words, or making those words we do use bolder and bigger, music is and has always been an integral part of our lives, our spirituality and culture. There is no idea that cannot be expressed in music, and no force that reaches people's emotional depths as profoundly.

Music is an art form, but it is more than that, it is potentially Humanity's greatest achievement. It comes as no surprise, then, that we are constantly looking for new ways to create, perform and distribute music. You may roll your eyes when you read interviews with pampered pop stars who claim that songs are 'in the ether' explaining that they simply pluck fully formed songs out of thin air like you or I might absent-mindedly pick dandelions on a warm Summer's day, but trust me, as a part-time singer-songwriter, it's a lot like that.

Technologically speaking, music has come along in leaps and bounds over the centuries, being recorded and reproduced in any number of ways. Initially, songs were simply repeated, taught to new artists and performed over and over again as a method of recording. You may laugh, but this method of recording has kept millions of songs alive for more years than you could possibly live. The next innovation came with the dissemination of a structured musical language, which explained to the educated performer how to re-create these sounds.

Musical 'notation' and the ability to 'read' music, ensured that even more beauty was correctly catalogued and stored for future generations, an archive of magnificence gifted to us by ancestors we could never physically meet. In this way, music is truly transcendent, not just emotionally, or in a Psuedo-Platonic sense, but in a very measurable, quantifiable way. Music transcends cultural barriers, racial prejudice and social concerns, to be re-born, Pheonix-like, as a redeemer for each successive generation. Likewise, social songs take their place in history as snapshots of an age, but, more directly, as a catalyst for social change and reform.

As technology raced forward, sounds could be stored and placed on wax discs, which could then re-produce them at will. I won't bore you any more with technical data (not least of which because I don't know it myself) but suffice to say that the phonograph begat the record player and the record player begat the CD player. Or something like that. MP3 players, our current system of choice, celebrate music's return from the confines of the physical world and back to the intangible dreamscape from whence they arrived. In addition to being the first truly portable music medium (think about it), MP3 players benefit from never needing the disc changed, the tape re-wound, or the side switched.

MP3 players run on the same basic need as that which created the vulture-wing flute 35,000 (or more) years earlier, it's a need to hear music, a need to enjoy music and, to be more precise, an emotional release caused by the feel of music. I like to think of MP3 players as a sort of time machine, using which I can trace the echoes left by the victims of black oppression in 1930's America, the ingenuity and majesty of eighteenth-century Europe, the buoyancy and spirit of the 1960's, the didactic morality plays of rural Africa, or what it felt like to be a punk in the UK, circa 1977.

Using MP3 players, we can all become time travellers and connect to a tapestry so impossibly vast and exciting that it almost defies comprehension. MP3 players have given us the most precise and direct passport to this land of self-discovery. In a world where we've barely got time to sit on the toilet, we're suddenly able to drag our personal musical libraries into this morass of modernity with us. This is no accident, we invented it because we needed to. Today, our music goes where we go, colouring the landscape and flavouring it with feelings of our choosing. A drab, emotionless dirge of a tube ride can now become a psychedelic journey, complete with schizoid guitars and drug-addled squeals. A pleasant, autumnal bike ride can give way to a frenzied assault on the senses via some heavy metal thunder. MP3s are the newest, coolest way to listen and learn of very old things.

Differences Between Internet Radio and Music Download Sites

Using the power of the internet, the music industry has also invaded the internet. It has taken advantage of the exponential positive effects of using the internet to become more popular. Since most people are using the internet on a regular basis, the music industry has even become more successful. The internet has probably superseded the conventional way of listening to music. You can now find websites which will allow you to listen to your favorite songs. You can either find internet radio or music download sites.

Online listeners have treated these two music resource as one. Well, you probably have seen few of these sites on the internet if you are one of those people. Although there are some similarities, internet radio is quite different from music download sites.

The primary difference is the website content. Internet radio is simply a website that plays live radio program. Through live streaming, we can now tune in to our favorite radio station to listen to our favorite music, get the latest headlines or the hottest trends. Internet radio relies on satellite broadcasting. It operates the same way the actual radio does. The music that you hear from a conventional radio is what you would hear from an online radio. Advertisements are also present. This time, it will be seen and heard on the website. You will still hear advertisements in between songs while you will see ad banners posted on the website of the online radio. Music download sites are like a huge archive of play list. It is arranged so the website visitor can choose which songs to play.

The rate is the next thing that shows the difference of internet radio from music download sites. Most internet radio provides free listening experience while most of the music download site requires membership. Although there are some sites that are also free, these website were banned by the power of copyright laws. Music album pirates have quick access to reproduce. The copyright law dictates that it is prohibited to reuse or reproduce a music album without permission. Through unpaid music download sites, it will be easier for these people to gain access to free resources.

The flat form may be the noticeable difference of this online music source. Usually, internet radio only requires Adobe for a computer to gain access while music download sites usually require downloading applications such as media players. If a computer is not compatible or does not have this component then it will be difficult to listen to music.

Internet radio has contributed some advantages to its audience. It is convenient and easy to use. A lot of website owners and developers have made partnership with online radio sites due to the potential revenue growth it could bring their websites. The public is being discouraged to patronize music download sites for its association with piracy. This pertains to free downloads as there are some legal websites in existence. Being in the know of the latest technology can help you understand its significance.

Five Essentials For Getting Your Big Break in Music

Has music always been your passion? Do you find no greater joy than performing for a live audience? Are you looking to make your passion become a reality? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, then you should seriously think about working toward your passion at all costs. There are ways you can do this. Even ways you can go about getting your big break in music. But first, you have to be smart. Plan for the big time by knowing the essentials. Know the absolute musts before you get started, and you're halfway to reaching your dream. And these essentials are:

Hone your skills locally: Music distribution and single song distribution will only take you so far. You must play off an audience to see what works and what doesn't. This can be a scary step in the beginning, but it gets easier the longer that you play. And the adrenaline makes any case of stage fright completely worth it.

Work every day on the creative side: You have to show the right amount of business acumen to make a career in the music industry. You cannot simply create and leave it up to your music distribution service or manager to turn you into a superstar. You have to put yourself out there. No getting around it. Still, it can become a chore really fast if you are not constantly revisiting the creative side. Keep your skills sharp by returning to what you love every day. Even though it may count as work, it will certainly not feel like it. And if it does, that can be a good gauge for whether or not you belong in the industry.

Be confident and realistic: Marketing your music to major record labels cannot come, realistically, until you have taken the steps needed to start your career. Once you are ready, be confident and realistic about where your efforts will take you. If you've built your music into something, you will have the platform necessary to break in. When this occurs, network with people inside the industry. It doesn't matter how small. Everyone is connected. Everyone is always looking for the next big thing. Be friendly and open to anyone you can within the industry. Let them know who you are and what you do. Taking it one step further, give them examples by pointing them to your audience. Turn them on to demos and quality archived performances. Achieve this, and your dreams will fall into place.

Network online: Try to work with other musicians with similar aspirations. As your network grows, more people will start to know your work and there will be more opportunities to promote your music.

Perform for others often: Whether you are creating music videos or performing live, it's always good to be able to improve your performing skills. Sometimes, it takes more than just music talent in order to succeed in this competitive industry.

Music distribution or single song distribution is essential to future success, but you're not going to get in with the big boys until you've become as comfortable with performing and publicity as you are with your music.

Web Radio Player - The Best Source to Listen to Online Music

The world wide web offers us with so many options where we can listen music online from any parts of the globe. Radio, which is considered as the basic source of entertainment, evolved from a simple transmitter to highly sophisticated gadgets such as mp3 players, iPod, and so on. With this type of music source, you can listen to as many songs as you can, even while relaxing, chilling out with friends, or mainly doing other activities. Since most people browse the Internet almost everyday, more and more companies are creating such radio broadcasting software, which allows you to listen International songs, along with thousands of radio stations worldwide. This is also known as web radio player.

There are wide arrays of advantages accompanied on this type of music software. Internet music stations are easily detected since the software is programmed to display thousands of International radio stations with no extra cost. It also does not require further downloading on radio stations that work with frequencies since the software itself is capable of detecting frequency-based stations. The only thing that is needed when using this type of radio player is that it requires Internet connection. Although there are music software that function even without Internet connection, most of these songs are previously recorded or saved, thus giving you restrictions on other newly released songs. Music enthusiasts recommend to have a software that is always connected to the Internet for you to be able to connect International radio stations and listen to updated music and news.

Another benefit of stream radio software is that it supports thousands of radio stations of 200 countries, and classified into various music genre. In this way, listening to your favorite music type and genre are much easier and better than a traditional music player. The good thing about radio over Internet covers not only music streaming, but there are also live radio stations that let people listen to latest programs. Through Internet radio streaming, you will be updated with the latest news in various sections such as sports, movies, political, social, and other entertaining fronts. With radio software, online listeners can listen to music Internet station with great ease since they can choose their preferred channel stations of their taste. This can also be archived in the software itself, thus giving you less time to search on your frequently visited radio stations.

Keeping you updated with the recent and most fresh news from other countries can be done through live radio listening. It is something that does not only keep you entertained, but it provides you fresh and useful information as well. This is a type of software that can be used even by youngsters. Instead of accessing each site for every music that you would like to hear, using a web radio player can help you listen top-listed music in International billboard just from a single radio station. This radio software offers excitement and entertainment to listeners across the world.

The Versatile Appeal of Music Videos

Everyone loves music videos. They're a highly enjoyable form of entertainment. If you like music, its almost a given that you will like music videos. My dad is 65 and he quite likes Eminem's music videos, he even likes some of Green Day's music videos. He has a taste for off the wall, my dad. He also has an eye for the ladies, not the half naked ones in the R&B videos or most of the rap videos but he likes Pink, thinks that she is pretty because she has character (and a hot body that she is not afraid of showing off), he digs her music too. He likes Annie Lennox for the same reason, she doesn't show off her body but she has character and it comes out in her music and music videos. He's also a bit eclectic is my dad.

Everybody has his or her own unique taste in music. Some people have very specific tastes and some people's tastes are very broad, they're the lucky ones because they can listen to a wide variety of music and not get irritated by what they hear very quickly. Very often people have a secret taste in music that they are a little ashamed of. This is because it's often something that they would ordinarily mock but suddenly they find that they like some of a particular artist's music and they feel the need to buy the new cd. They feel dreadful doing it and the self-chastisement and self-flagellation that they go through is enormous but don't think that they don't get enormous joy out of the cd also. They just don't tell people about it. Only mutual sharing of embarrassing music will allow the secret to be told and only if the other person's music is deemed to be more embarrassing than theirs. Key point, panpipes always wins in the embarrassing stakes, nothing beats panpipes, nothing, not even Spice Girls (but its close).

The fact that we can feel such acute embarrassment by something as silly as the music we listen to just goes to show what a powerful role music plays in our lives. We identify ourselves by the type of music that we listen to. Take a look at the Goth subculture; they are heavily influenced by the music that they listen to. The clubs that they go to only play Goth music, everyone dresses in a way that identifies them as Goth. The ravers are the same, they listen to rave music, dress a particular way, talk a particular way and have identified themselves as part of a particular subculture. They take pride in their identity. There are subcultures for every kind of music, even teenybopper pop as little girls identify with whoever the current icon is (no longer Britney Spear, thank goodness). There is very little crossover between subcultures. They tend to stick very much to themselves and to judge other music subcultures as inferior in every way possible.

Even if we don't identify so strongly to a subculture that we adopt its dress, make-up, language and mode of life, music still plays an important role in every day life. It affects our moods or we play music to reflect our moods, we use it to keep ourselves company in our cars or when we are alone in our homes, it helps concentration, it relieves stress and tension and helps us relax, it sets the mood for a party or for a romantic night in with our partners. Scientific research has even proved that if played to babies while still in the womb it can make your children smarter, but that has to be a certain type of music, not just any old keys will do. Love of music is inherent, babies smile laugh and dance from before they can stand when they here music and they develop their own taste early on. It may be similar to their parents but not necessarily. Its all part of what makes life interesting.

When it comes to music videos you may not necessarily like the artist but you can still like the video. Ricky Martin for instance, not that musically gifted but that man can swing his booty like no one's business. His music videos are a joy to watch.

The advantage of the Internet is that you get free streaming audio and sites that offer music videos via free streaming audio, which means that you get to see your videos almost as soon as you choose them. It also means that you don't have to wait for ages for your favourite videos to appear on TV, you just pick and click. Some sites have vast archives of videos for you to choose from in any genre that you like. All tastes and subcultures are catered for. It's great living in an age where entertainment and technology work hand in hand to provide convenient and easy access to the latest and oldest music videos that you might have a yen to see.

Seven Top Free Digital Music Services

It's the age of freebies. These days, we can download e-books, stream movies, and listen to music, all for free - and legally! It's just a question of where to find these goodies.

So as far as music is concerned, where can we get them for free? Here are some sites you would want to check out:

1. Grooveshark ( is one of the largest music streaming services in the world. This site allows you to find and listen to your favourite music, make your own personalized playlist, browse for new songs, and share them on social networking and bookmarking sites with just one click.

You can listen to free unlimited radio on your Android, Blackberry, Nokia, Jailbroken iPhone, or HP Web OS smartphone by simply downloading the Grooveshark app.

It also has features such as the video mode, which lets you watch YouTube videos of your favourite songs; the Power Hour mode, which automatically moves you to a new song every 60 seconds; and the visualizer, which adds a visual element to accompany your music.

2. Spotify ( The Spotify free account gives you instant access to millions of tracks for your streaming pleasure. You can play and organize your own MP3s, and you can share them with your friends, as well as get your friends' recommendations, and listen to them instantly with just a click of a Facebook button.

If you want to listen to music offline on your desktop or mobile, though, you'll need to get the paid Premium account.

3. We7 ( is a free music-streaming service available to users from Ireland and the UK. It has more than 6.8 million tracks from four major record labels and a huge number of independent labels. If you wish to purchase the tracks, you can do so from the in-site store.

4. ( you like listening to music but are too lazy to search for the music you like, try, a music recommendation service. Just sign up, download the Scrobbler software, and let that little tool deliver personalised recommendations based on what songs or artists you listen to most often.

5. Soundclick ( site has been around since 1997, so it must be good, right? To date, its catalogue holds over 2.5 million tracks that you can listen to through live streaming. Some of the music is available for free and legal download.

6. Audio Archive ( you're looking for free songs, poetry readings, audio books, old-time radio shows, and even alternative news programs, you can find over 200,000 of those from Audio Archives' MP3 and audio library.

7. ArtistServer ( looking for non-mainstream artists and their music can find them at ArtistServer. Choose from over 8,000 free and legally downloadable songs from this website. There is a full range of genres to choose from - country, rock, jazz, metal, blues, classical, hip-hop, folk, and many others - all recorded by unsigned artists, who use the site to promote their work.

With many digital music services available the CD duplication industry is reducing and digital music sales now eclipse that of CDs.

Have You Ever Lived in Bristol, Virginia?

After almost 20 years of living and working in the St. Petersburg/Tampa part of Florida, and after living through nine hurricanes, we decided to make the move to what we considered to be the "real" South, Bristol, Virginia.

I have written before about the neighbors we had in Florida, they were not caring, they were not friendly, they really did not seem to care about anyone that lived around them. Now, there might have been a few that did, but they really were the exception to the rule. Most of them just could not be bothered with anyone...they were too busy working to keep their heads above water in a state that was supposed to be one of least expensive to live in. Guess they were wrong.

Now, Virginia is just the opposite. Here in Bristol, Virginia, I have the best neighbors. You could not ask for kinder, sweeter, or more caring people to have as friends. They are always there if you need them.

If someone is sick, then they bring food to you, they give you flowers from their gardens to plant in your garden, they phone each other to tell of one of the neighbors mom that passed away, and make enough food to feed their family for a week. They want to share with you. It is a true neighborhood.

Something I have not experienced since I lived in Bridgeport Connecticut in the North End when I was growing up. We had neighbors there, that you could depend on. It is the same here in Bristol....they really do care about each other, and I care about them.

Beside the great neighbors we have here, we have great weather, not as much snow as Connecticut, and not the horribly bitter cold that we had there either. Still have the change of seasons, which I didn't realize that I missed since I moved from Florida, but....strange as it may seem, I did miss it. I missed seeing the beautiful yellow, orange and redish gold colors that fill my view from all the windows in our large Victorian home.

There are so many other amenities that make Bristol such a great place to live. Because we are right on the border of Tennessee, all of our services are shared. We only have one Chamber of Commerce. If you want to know something about Bristol Tennessee, or Bristol Virginia, the Chamber is the place to go.

We are also known for the thirteen colleges we have in our area, and of course one of the most popular attractions of the area is the Bristol Race Track. People come from far and wide to see the races in March and in August. So many of our friends and family are envious because we live so close to the NASCAR track.

Bristol is also the birthplace of Country Music, and it is kept alive by presenting concerts, collaborating with local organizations, taping programs for national broadcast, and maintaining archives of recorded music and spoken word.

There is live music every night of the week here. There is always something to do or hear in this area. The Paramount Center for the arts serves as a showplace for the arts in Bristol. They feature nationally known musicians, host Broadway touring shows, and present a varied line-up of performances. There is always something to do in Bristol, and my husband and I take advantage of this whenever we can.

Real Estate is also more affordable in Bristol. A home that we could not have afforded in Connecticut, and the kind they just didn't have in our part of Florida either. That was one of the reasons that we are here, we could afford the home we wanted, a home with high ceilings, and big rooms. That was what we were looking for, and never thought we could afford. But we could afford it here, because the taxes and the insurance are not as high as it was in Florida.

Florida went out of sight because of the 9 hurricanes we had in one year. The insurance and taxes just went sky high, and we decided we had enough. The same way as many others in the state are doing. We packed up everything and moved here. We are glad we did. I miss my children in Connecticut, so we are closer to them now. Takes about 12 hours, but that's not bad compared to driving to Connecticut from Florida. Now, that was a drive!

All in all, we are very happy to be living in the "real" South, with people that we care about, and that care about us. It's nice to be included in their parties, their holidays, and their family gatherings. So very different from what we experienced in our old neighborhood. Here, our friends are our family!

If you are interested in a small town that wraps their arms around you when you move into your home, and opens up it's heart to new people, then consider moving to our new favorite part of the South, Bristol Virginia, you won't be sorry!

Music on the Internet

It's clear that on the internet the artist has freedom, and it's also clear that the listener can listen to music whenever they want - exactly as you can do in the real world, putting the content onto a CD.

Now I'm not saying that the internet is a waste of time. It's a very important tool and as Marcelo Abud, publicist, composer and writer of the article "Liberty and Independence" said:

- "Everywhere, the artists that learn to administer, divulge and distribute their own work are being listened to more and more."

Repeat, ", the artists that learn to administer...".

The internet is an important tool just like any other, but it needs to be used in conjunction with other tools. It's at this point that a lot of bands and artists fail. They think that one tool is enough! It's not true.

Companies like Trama Virtual also say that their services are important, of course, they are talking about themselves. If you ask Trama Virtual where the biggest source of income comes from on their site, they will say it comes from advertising and not from the sale of online music. In monetary terms the artist receives almost nothing for their investments.

Let's look at some data.

Without taking away merit from the good intentions of Trama, its' site has 8731 pages of musical archives totalizing 96080 MP3's sent by 38390 artists. Just for highlighted bands there are 97 pages, 20 archives per page, or in other words, 1840 highlights. How can anybody feel highlighted amongst 1840? And those bands and artists that are not highlighted? Where do they end up? Many times successful bands on this type of site are supported by the site owners in the real world to:

Earn money for the company, just like any band in the real world. Do the marketing for the company with the artist saying that they were discovered on that site and in a short space of time became a success, insinuating that just their presence on that site was the principal motive for their success. The reality is that each band and artist needs to follow a direction to earn their success.

John Paterson, ex CEO of the site (the site folded), said in an interview:

- "You can't earn a living selling MP3's.".

He continued saying that even though his site had been receiving a lot of visitors, very few would buy music online, preferring to just listen to the free stuff.

- "A long way from threatening the musical industry and major recording companies, online music still depends on them to survive. Everything that I hated in the music industry is true. 90% is marketing and media. The public don't want to decide for themselves, the people need their friends and the media to say that something is good. Few people would buy a song which they have just heard by an unknown band ".

People buy what they already know, the majority of the time through conventional media..

Promotion of bands and their sites on the internet in the real world through printed press and their live presentations will still be vital for the success of internet marketing for the future.

Research group Forrester published a report saying that the legal downloads market took just 4% share in the music market during 2005 in the United States, a long way short of the CD share in the same market.

- "The internet will not sell music," - declared Neil Cooper, manager of the band Stumble, which is distributing its' music at the site of

- "It's just a means of distribution. You wouldn't just go into a CD shop in the real world and just by looking at the CD cover think: - That should be good, I'll buy it ".

The band owes part of their success to intensive coverage of mass media. The secret is to contract a specialist to deliver your music to conventional radio stations and convince the presenters to publicize the address of the bands' site.

Cooper said:

- "Some bands could put their music on these sites and think that it's sufficient, that it's just a case of waiting. But it's like putting your CD in a shop and ot publicizing the fact that it's there."

The recording companies in the real world only select those artists that they think will make money. That's no secret. By the way, this upsets many musicians, especially those who were not selected!

The recording companies make sure that the bands have a good "look", are professional and have a good recording to be sold.

The problem with the internet is that it doesn't have these demanding filters, nobody judges if a song is worth distributing or not, or that the band will manage to make a polished performance onstage (at least two hours of material) to offer a complete entertainment package which the consumer is looking for. Some bands can have a nice photo and well written release, just to waste the time it takes to download the archive, of the visitor because the quality of the recording or the music is terrible!

Nobody is supervising the quality of the recording, nor the production except the musicians who did the work, and the quality is fundamental for the end user.

With so many bands appearing in these types of site, which bands will be more successful? Those that are promoted. It's as simple as that.

The major recording companies, as any well structured company, have a good reserve of resources in liquid funds and physical properties.

It's the smaller independents that can't stand the backlash of a flop in the market, because their profit margins are smaller and cash flow is a lot more restricted, with less money to be spent on marketing and promotion.

Concluding, a site on the internet is important, as in any other marketing action.

It's important to have YOUR site on the internet and only use these sites, like Trama or MySpace as an opportunity to put a link or a gateway to YOUR site.

The Best Music Resource on the Internet

While there are many excellent music adventures on the Internet, my favorite is the Internet Archives. This resource features live music created by a wide variety of artists in all kinds of genres. Don't worry about copyright violation here, all of the featured music artists have agreed to share their music.

You will find over 42,000 concerts presented by over 2,500 hundred bands. For the most part the quality of the recordings is fairly good. You can not only download the shows to your computer but you are able to "stream" the music if you want to save disc space.

My absolute favorite bands are there. The Grateful Dead collection is extensive. You will find shows which chronicle each phase of their music. Unfortunately most of the sound board recordings have been removed from the Archives, but you can still find some great recordings.

The Little Feat, are well represented here, with many of their concerts being cataloged. The shows available are simply amazing. I was shocked at how good the music is. A band that I discovered through the Archives is The Radiators. This band from New Orleans knows how to rock.

The Archives contains music from some bands and artists you have never heard before. In some cases that may be a good thing. In all fairness though, most of the music I have sampled was quite good, even if I did not personally care for it.

There is so much music contained here, the chances are excellent you will find something you like. If nothing else go to experience all of the wonderful music that is available to you for absolutely no cost. I encourage you to check out Internet Archives. It is simply the most amazing music resource on-line.

To find The Internet Archives, just search for it in your favorite search engine.

Austin - More Than Just Live Music Capital Of The World

Many of the tourists that visit Austin come for its vibrant nightlife; it is after all, the 'Live Music Capital of the World'. However, there are many other attractions in Austin that don't involve music..

Austin offers a wealth of museums and art galleries. The Texas Memorial Museum is the main exhibit hall of the Texas Natural Science Centre. Since it opened in 1939, it has assembled a collection of 5.7 million specimens in the disciplines of palaeontology, geology and biology. The Blanton Museum of Art is the largest university arts museum in the entire U.S.A, and houses some 17,000 works from Europe, the United States and Latin America.

The Harry Ransom Humanities Research Centre is a library and public archive, specialising in the collection of literary and cultural artfacts from all around the world. It houses 36 million literary manuscripts, 1 million rare books, 5 million photographs, and more than 100,000 works of art.

For a deeper look into the history of the state, The Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum is dedicated to telling 'the Story of Texas' and is named after former Texas Lieutenant Governor, Bob Bullock. Austin is also home to the O. Henry House Museum. O. Henry is the pen name of writer William Sydney Porter, who lived in Austin for much of his adult life. Porter's 400 short stories are known for their wit and wordplay and he is also credited as being the inventor of the 'twist ending' in literature. The O. Henry House Museum hosts the annual O. Henry Pun Off, which is a pun contest where Henry enthusiasts exhibit their wit and wordplay skills in honour of their hero.

The Congress Avenue Bridge houses the world's largest urban population of Mexican free-tailed bats. Starting in late February, up to 1.5 million bats take up residence inside the bridge's expansion and contraction zones as well as in long horizontal grooves running the length of the bridge's underside - an environment ideally suited for raising their young. Every evening around sunset, the bats emerge in search of insects. Watching the bat emergence is an event that is popular with locals and tourists, with more than 100,000 viewers per year.

As Austin's official slogan is 'The Live Music Capital of the World', the city has a vibrant live music scene, with more music venues per capita than any other American city. Austin's music revolves around the many nightclubs on 6th Street and an annual film/music/multimedia festival called South By Southwest (SXSW). There are also a burgeoning circle of live performance venues in theatres, bars and hotels in Austin.

Austin is full of historic landmarks and unusual tourist attractions, from the beautiful Texas State Capitol building to the Congress Avenue Bridge and its nightly bat flights. There are plenty of museums, places to eat, and of course there's live music just around every corner. So it's no wonder that Austin gets high marks for sightseeing and family trips.

Bardo Pond - Ticket Crystals - Music Review

In Tibetan Buddhist cosmology the word, "Bardo" refers to an intermediate state. Specifically, a state between two lives on Earth.

According to Tibetan tradition after one has died and before one's next birth, one's consciousness experiences a wide variety of phenomena. These experiences and visions range from beautiful to terrifying and provide one with opportunities to reach enlightenment or to suffer a lower rebirth. This cosmic video game landscape is laid out in extreme detail within the pages of the Tibetan Book of the Dead. This book also serves as a guide to be read to the recently deceased to help them as they navigate through the Bardo.

A pond is a body of water which is generally defined by its' size. A pond is smaller than a lake and is usually shallow enough that sunlight can reach the bottom. Another defining characteristic is that ponds, as opposed to lakes, are usually the result of rain run-off, mineral springs or very small streams. Typically a pond has little or no outflow drainage and as a result ponds develop self-contained ecosystems. Ponds also display the formation of 'scum" which is the common name for the large amount of dead and decaying vegetation condensing on the surface of the water. A contributor to the pond scum buildup is the presence of algae which multiplies rapidly in the nutrient rich and sunlight exposed waters.

In reading through these definitions I'm struck by how, when combined, they provide a pretty good description of the music of the band, Bardo Pond.

Okay, for any of you literalists out there, I'm not suggesting that the band are all dead water spirits covered in scum! I'm speaking more of a poetic vision of their music and how it winds out. Within their music we find elements of hallucinogenic visions and often there are large squishy mats of algae-like noise.

With "Ticket Crystals" (ATP Recordings) Bardo Pond has released its' best album yet. I don't say this lightly as they have put out some heavy stuff in the past eleven years. In particular the albums, 'Set and Setting" and "Dilate" are awash in vast oceans of sound perfection and ambiance.

However, "Ticket Crystals" simply sets a new standard. It also re-prioritizes elements of their sound. Elements that while they were always present, are now more front and center allowing them to shine.

The obvious and most welcome of these is the voice and flute of Isobel Sollenberger. On previous releases her voice has, while adding texture, been primarily buried under a mountain of crushing feedback. Her flute has shown up before but on this album it also takes center stage. The repositioning of Sollenberger toward the center of Bardo Pond's sound is an absolute masterstroke! Oddly for a voice that can sound as eerie and wistful as hers, it provides somewhat of an anchor or focal point that helps guide and propel these songs along. Bardo Pond's music has always been a wild ride. they patch together huge crushing chunks of feedback with time-lag tempos and wrap the whole business in a druggy, vasoline-smeared gauze.

Their music can sound like summer lightning moving through a vast ocean of molasses and believe me folks, that's a very good thing! Much as Sonic Youth has done on their newest, Bardo Pond has taken one of their sonic signatures, noisy skronk, and is now using it more sparingly or strategically. And just as it did on the SY's album this usage shows both growth and power. It's like a great boxer saving their best punch for those perfect moments. Another lovely aspect to this album are the song lengths. In a music culture absolutely awash in 2-3 minute pop songs, Bardo Pond makes a statement with the 8-18 minute pieces alone. It's as though they are saying, "Slow down, pay attention. These things take time" Highlight songs include, "Moonshine", "FCII", "Lost World" and a stunning cover of the Beatles "Cry, Baby Cry".

It is always a pleasant experience to hear a band you love continue to evolve and grow. Bardo Pond has recently released a flurry of small to microscopic independent discs on labels such as 3-Lobed and aRCHIVE. All of these releases are radically different so it's hard to say if the Sollenberger as central-axis is a new direction or a passing experiment. Hopefully it's a bit of both. Either way, Bardo Pond has released an amazing disc here. It is a set of challenging, eye-opening and beautiful music.

FLV Video Share Sites Streamline Band and Music Promotion

Streamline your marketing and promotion with niche streaming web sites. The amazing onlinetv rage is right here and growing. Internet marketing attention is focused on broadband streaming media and nothing could be better for your music than a slice of that attention. This is a marriage made in heaven streaming media and music video.

With the free, built into Microsoft, Movie Maker most everyone can take their audio file and with a little creativity make it into a compelling video. Music videos are no longer a barrier for bands to take advantage of the onlinetv revolution. Just pop some cool pictures or some video shorts from your mini-cam, lay in your audio tracks and viola! You have made a simple music video to get that song out. A video with title, credits, lyrics and a message where viewers can buy it will more than suffice as a promotional tool. Don't forget "Where is the next gig?"

Who has not heard of YouTube or Google video? These amazing amalgams of everything under the sun stand as monolithic compendiums. There must be more than 100 million videos on these sites containing an inexhaustible variety of material covering every topic under the sun. This makes them the world's largest central repository for video. Like a dictionary containing every word it has the drawback it cannot be read even if using an index to find something. If you are not the most popular or the featured few darlings your message never sees the light of day, except by you. Google's top 100 videos are populated with soft porn girlies and that is hard to compete with.

Never let it be said that having your music video on YouTube or Google should not be done. Au contrairy, that is the first thing you would do followed by posting that video to your MySpace account. What did you say? You don't have a MySpace account? Then go get an account now! The accounts are free, easy and worth the effort. Move! Get back here when you are done baking that cake.

Now it is time to put some frosting on your cake. Frosting for this project is exemplified with a video share site like MusicTV Video Share. A shared video website designed with a specific focus on music. This is the oldest site streaming on the Internet. Even before Real or Microsoft had streaming software was broadcasting live bands from New York City and London using its own software. Every week over 20 concerts of independent bands were broadcast live and then archived on the Internet. Amazing! Even Keane played for MusicTV! While they no longer stream live they have put up a new video-sharing site that offers almost all the features of YouTube as well as the name and heritage (page ranking!) of MusicTV. The video share site is now only weeks old so you have an opportunity to rule the front page and the search engine results!

You can download your YouTube flv file using Vixy website saving time to upload with the smaller flv file, or simply upload your original (under 100meg) right onto the MusicTV servers. The service handles the conversion of most formats if you do not have an flv file. You will end up with an embeddable flv video as well as a URL for places that do not let you embed or email! The page is a perma-link home for the song that can be attached to your "group" at MusicTV Video Share. The offered code works in MySpace, Blogger and just about all the web sites that allow embed code. MusicTV Video Share has community resources that include; your own personal profile, messaging, friends, favorites, play lists, groups and other tools to help you expand your fan base. You can use the community by populating your profile with your music videos, pictures, and information while you form a group using your band name to gather new fans. It works. You can then send email to your friends directly from your account at MusicTV. It is all simple and easy. has always worked for the independent musician and labels. Independent labels are invited to form groups and showcase their bands. There is a special program for selling your CD's or downloads through the online DVD and audio CD sales outlet available on MusicTV Video Share.

The important thing is to get you onto these sites when they start and are fresh. MusicTV Video Share is new and will launch out in full this September. You have the opportunity to be the first there and that means front page! Google cache!

Niche streaming is the future and finding a place where you can stand out within your niche gets more difficult each day. You will see more niche streaming sites growing out as the proliferation of site offerings becomes overwhelming. Finding the bests sites to get your music heard and seen will be of great significance. When the next big wave comes are you ready to ride it? Get on so I can see you already!

Music and Socialite in One

Most of the internet users nowadays demand a more beneficial experience when they go online. Being in the know about the things going have been a necessity for most of us. We seldom use the telephone to communicate with our friends and family. More of than not, we utilize the internet to send messages. Not only for the purpose of communication but most importantly for meeting new people that we use our computer. How cool is it to socialite while listening to our favorite music?

Internet radio has revolutionized the way we listen to our favorite music. We have become aware that the more people you are connected with, the more chances of getting company. Regardless of the sector we come from, we face the reality of the benefits of social networking. Every day of our lives we want to get to know people across the globe. As we move through the day, our need for using the internet is consistent. In every aspect of our lives we have relied on this advance technology of reaching out. We want nothing but the best experience while we are online.

If you want to listen to your favorite song or simply to get the latest headlines, you can get it by tuning in to online radio. Similar to the conventional way of listening to the radio which allows us to greet our friends on air, internet radio has its own way of connecting different people. There are online radios that have combined the features of a radio station and social networking sites. It will show you a list of members that you can reach out when you want to make friends. Just like your favorite social networking sites, you will be able to see their profile that contains their name, address and brief background of their interests and hobbies. While you are searching for a friend, you will be able to choose from a play list that has contains an archive of songs.

When you find yourself these features combined in one online radio site then your search for entertainment and getting to know people stops there. You can bookmark the site so you can return to it on your free time. Most online radios with these features combined are available free. You will never be left out with the latest products in the market as they have a section that shows banner advertisements. Through live streaming, you will be able to listen to live broadcast of your favorite radio station. Thus, you can also find a section that you can play your favorite songs of your choice. Unlike before when you have to wait on the queue for your turn to greet your friends and make a request, internet radio gives you the ability to post messages for your friends.

With the existence of online radios that have the features combined on one website, your online experience will never be boring again. Not to mention that you will not be the first one to take advantage of it since most people have access to the internet.

Music Videos - Wonderful Entertainment Experience

The internet has facilitated you with several streaming audio websites that offer melodious music videos which means that you can now see videos as soon as you like. This also means that you can watch your favourite videos whenever you want to without waiting for it to appear on television. The only thing that one has to do is to just explore, choose and click. There are several online music stores who have well-defined music CDs and DVDs categories and vast archives of excellent videos.

Everyone likes music as they play an important role in our lives. You can discover a complete new experience while listening and watching CDs and DVDs. Online music shops have unique videos for the people having very specific tastes and also for those having broad tastes. Keeping in mind the different tastes, you can see all latest and oldest compilations.

You can choose from any genre you like to see. You can buy music videos of renowned artists like Eddie Grant, Madonna, Night Ranger, Beastie Boys, Metallica, Pearl Jam, Fountains of Wayne, Breaking Benjamin, OutKast and lots more. They form a wonderful means of entertainment.

You listen to music which refreshes your mood and gives a soothing experience to your ears. For example if you see a Goth subculture, there is an influence of music that they listen to. They wear same dress in the club so that, they can be easily identified. Similarly the Ravers also listen to Rave music and have formed their own subculture.

Music video DVDs relieves stress and helps you to relax. When you select videos, you can enjoy videos even if you don't like to listen to songs. The earliest music videos appeared in the late 1950's with Ricky Nelson performing with few other artists. Today you can see several music video channels showing latest music videos by different artists along with excellent visual impressions.

10 Places to Distribute Your Music

Trying to promote your music by send out MP3's to the general public? In one of my other articles I gave you 10 ways to promote your music, in this article I give you the 10 of best places to distribute your music.

SoundCloud is an amazing new website that's turning into one of the biggest community of music creators on the planet. You can upload, share and even embed the music on your website. The only downside is you can only upload 2 hours worth of music then you have to upgrade.

SoundClick started years ago and allows you to upload an unlimited amount of tracks for free, as-long as they are 128Kbps or under. You want to upload anything bigger then you need to purchase VIP membership. You can even sell your music through them, although I'm not sure that you will make any money.

For those of you who will not be making money from your music and wish to share your music for free permanently then this is a great option. You can release your music using creative commons licenses and link to them from your website and never have to worry about the cost of bandwidth.

Trying to make money from your music and want to use Paypal on your website? Payloadz allow you to sell your music using PayPal and they then distribute your tracks. You use the cart system on your own website without even having to know any scripting, just simply copy and paste any code they give you.

Unless you have been living on another planet then you will have heard of this website, you get a band page and the ability to upload MP3's to it. Your music is then added to the MypSpace player on your profile and you can also choose whether to give the mp3 away for free.

A mp3 distribution website that sends your tracks to the likes of iTunes and Amazon to sell. It costs to set this up, but its much cheaper and more reliable than trying to do it yourself. Its also less time consuming as you are setting it all up from one website.

Similar to TuneCore and also distributes CD's of your music to shops in the US. A really good website for independent artists to sell music. Unfortunately you can only use one official distributor such as TuneCore or CDBaby as the websites that they distribute to will refuse your tracks if they already have them from somewhere else.

OOiZit is a social network aimed at the unsigned artist and allows you to sell or give your music away for free. Also, if you sell music on OoiZit your music may be eligible for chart position in the UK Singles chart.


Online netlabels are a great place to share your free music, not only do you not have to worry about bandwidth, netlabels already have people visiting the websites to download music regularly. Music is hand picked by the netlabel owners so your music won't get lost among the hoards like it would on social networks. Check out Creative Commons Music Wiki and to find a netlabel that suits your style of music.

Another huge global network for musicians, labels, management, fans and even venues. It provide all manner of tools and widgets to help in promoting your revernation page. Artists also get a portion of the advertising revenue as part of Reverbnations Fair Share program.

Los Angeles Music - The Music From the City of Angels

Being one of the most important cities in the world for the film industry, it is no wonder that Los Angeles is also one of the most important sites in the world for the recorded music industry. Even some of its landmarks, like Capitol Records, which is shaped like a stack of albums, is representative of the music culture that's inherent in the city. The A&M Recording outfit has long occupied a studio off Sunset Boulevard, which was built by Charlie Chaplin. The Warner Brothers also built a major recording business in addition to their already-successful film business. On the other hand, Rhino Records made a business out of digging through archives of music, repackaging and reissuing them for new audiences.

A Little Music History

Los Angeles music, during the 1930s and 1940s, were mostly vibrant African-American music. It came from a small community. A handful of musical artists would congregate around Central Avenue and play. These communities spawned a number of great talents including Charles Mingus, Buddy Collette, and Gerald Wilson. However, this partial music scene disappeared during the '50s. When the '60s came, LA's music was thriving again. However, this time it was more concentrated on bands rather than blues men. Los Angeles music became a breeding ground for bands like The Byrds, Buffalo Springfield, and the Doors. Plenty of hard rock came out of Los Angeles, such as the likes of Van Halen from Pasadena, Motley Crue, and Guns N' Roses. You also have some of the biggest thrash metal acts in the world: Slayer and Metallica. During the '90s came rock bands like Korn and the funk band Red Hot Chili Peppers. Punk rock also took its claim in Los Angeles music; bands like X, Black Flag, and Wasted Youth were among its promoters.

Modern Los Angeles Music

Even though the city has produced few internationally successful acts, the modern music scene in LA is a thriving community. Here are some musicians of today and yesterday that are proud to have started from the LA music scene.

Audioslave. This is an American hard rock supergroup that was formed in LA, California, in 2001. The band consists of former Sound Garden vocalist Chris Cornell and the former instrumentalists of another LA band Rage Against the Machines, namely Tom Morello (lead), Tim Commerford (bass), and Brad Wilk (drums). Their sound was initially just dubbed as a mix of their two former bands. But when the album came out, it was clear that they had created a sound that was distinctly theirs.

The Beach Boys. The Beach Boys are an American rock band that was formed in 1961. They gained popularity for their tight vocal harmonies and lyrics that reflect what its like to live and be in a California youth culture. Their vocalist Brian Wilson's creative ambitions later transformed them into one of the more artistically innovative groups that earned them critical praise and influenced many musicians.

Today the Los Angeles music scene is mostly composed of diverse types of music. From hip-hop to rock and rap, the list is endless and so are the artists that represent Los Angeles.

The Top Five Music Albums Ever Made

Listening to music is just about my favorite thing in the world to do. Some days I just listen to music for the entire day. So, I have heard quite a few albums in my lifetime. To narrow them down to the top five is difficult, but I feel that these are the best of the best. I highly recommend these albums. I will tell you why.

1. Beck - Sea Change. This is my favorite album ever recorded. There are a lot of sounds on this album, but it is still done in a very subtle way. It's an old fashioned album done by someone that can't help but use new fashioned technology. The fusion is superbly done. It really is a masterpiece. Sure, it's a little sleepy. It's also a little too simple. Still, it's the best album ever recorded.

2. Remy Zero - Villa Elaine. Remy Zero is America's best alternative rock band. They rose up in the late nineties and tried to hang on during the early 2000s. They didn't succeed. They eventually broke up without ever really making it. They left behind a few albums. This one is they gem. It's their second album, and it is perfect. They nailed the alternative rock genre. This is America's shot at the alt-rock scene.

3. The White Stripes - White Blood Cells. Two people have never made so much sound. It's amazing to think that all of this sound is being generated by just two people. When you hear them live, you realize that they are really making all of this music. White Blood Cells is their best work. Their other albums might be more concise, but this one displays their energy and charm better than the others. It's a little long to get through, but any shorter would have ruined it.

4. Dido - Life for Rent. Dido might not be the most emotive singer on the planet. She makes up for that in her subtleties. Life for Rent is a spot on album. The melodies are sharp. Her voice doesn't change much, but when it does it matters. The songs tell stories, and they are stories that you can come back to. There is a lot of personality in this album. It's one of the most character driven albums ever made. That character is Dido.

5. Fun - Aim & Ignite. This is most fun experience I have ever had listening to music. That is what they were going for. They were trying to make an album that would always be fun to listen to. That's what this is. It might not be the deepest affair you will have in the world of music. I don't always want that out of the tunes I listen to. Sometimes I just want to have fun.

These five albums have changed my life for the better. I should give honorable mention to the Grand Archives and Jack's Mannequin. They both made albums that I adore, but just couldn't fit in my top five list.

The Dead Live, Gratefully

On February 22nd, "I saw Dead people." 5000 of them at the Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware. I was one of them. And I was thrilled to be there. It was a Furthur concert, the Bob Weir/Phil Lesh band. Doesn't get much more Dead than that. OK, no Hart or Kreutzman, but no biggee. And the band's lead guitarist is Jerry reincarnated.

The show was great. I've seen the Grateful Dead, Other Ones, Garcia Band, Kingfish, Rat Dog, Furthur, et al maybe 40-50 times. On the Dead Head scale that makes me a novice, but still puts me into the lower tier of serious fan. They make me feel good. Always did. Always will.

For you Dead Heads the set list was first rate:

Set 1: Here Comes Sunshine, I Need a Miracle, Estimated Prophet Candyman, Maggie's Farm Alabama Getaway, Black Peter Cosmic Charlie

Set 2: The Golden Road (To Unlimited Devotion), Jack Straw, Cold Rain And Snow, Peaceful Valley, Sugaree Revolution, Terrapin Station, Throwing Stones

E: Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues, Ripple

Alabama Getaway in the first set and Ripple as the encore were the show highlights.

But the Dead are far from just brilliant musicians. The Dead are, have been, and will continue to be brilliant marketers. They have understood "social media" long before PCs, blogs and twitter. The have always believed in building a community, sharing, the influence of others, and the power of belonging to something bigger than oneself. If want to appreciate and understand the brilliance of Dead marketing I encourage you to read Joshua Green's: Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead in the March 2010 Atlantic

It's an incredibly insightful, well written article. I learned a ton.

I leave every Dead concert smiling, but yearning for the songs they didn't play that evening. I will never be fully satisfied and therefore never have enough. This August it'll be 15 years since Jerry's passing, the same week as Mickey Mantle's death-a really bad week for my boyhood idols. Though Jerry's been gone almost 15 years, the music of the Dead lives. Nothing better than that.

How to Make Your Own Techno Music

Techno music came from from Detroit, Michigan in the USA in the late 1980s. It is a type of electronic dance tune frequently played in night clubs, discos and bars. The very first archived utilization of the term techno to coin this genre was in the year 1988 and through the years, a multitude of types have been produced. A great deal of techno tunes have also been launched all over the world since its early days in Detroit. Additionally, due to its vast acceptance and appreciation, along with the many technological developments available to folks nowadays, it comes to no surprise that it is currently quite simple to discover ways to make your own techno music as well. This information will do just that.

Anything that makes sounds, or has a sound for that matter, could be changed and made to sound techno. Collect numerous sounds as you like so that you may have better alternatives when you begin generating your music. Then you must get the right computer software for the job. There are plenty of free programs which can be acquired online, download and try the ones that you think could live up to your wants and try them out. The one which gives you the most control and ease in using is the one you ought to stay with. You'll need a recording device to help you pick more sounds from other exterior sources.

If you have all all these ready, it's simple to make your own techno music. To start, you have to bear in mind how basic techno songs are arranged. Like the majority of songs, a typical techno composition starts with an intro, then goes to a chorus, followed by the climax, then another chorus, and finally finishes with an outro. The intro is frequently the calmest and least difficult section of the song because it includes the least noises, this is often where listeners first hear the basic percussion beat, that's audible throughout the song, also. Then comes the chorus, the part of the song that is generally the catchiest. Thus, the chorus also need to be the part where the rhythm and other sounds, like the bass, come in. After the chorus, your song should reach a climatic part and here you can layer even more sounds such as saxophones, various guitars as well as personal computer made sounds, this is after all techno and techno is a genre of electronic digital music. Following this, the chorus generally comes after once again and you can either use a fading chorus for your outro or add an additional verse to conclude the entire song.

However way you wind up making your techno music, it's very good to remember that you need to enjoy yourself doing so. After all, if you don't take pleasure in what you make, how else do you suppose others would respond to it, right? It's also wise to take into account that when you make your own techno, you will not always get it right, but there is often room for improvement. Just keep practicing and you will surely get good very quickly.

The Vibrant Live Entertainment Scene of Washington, DC

So you're taking a trip to Washington, D.C. and you have everything planned out. You're going to visit the National Archives, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the Smithsonian Institute, the FBI, and you have tours booked at the White House and the Capitol. Now, what are your plans for entertainment while in the nation's capital?

Entertainment? That's right. Even though D.C. might be best known as the setting of political wrangling between the President and Congress, the city actually has a vibrant live entertainment scene. That is, entertainment other than what you might see from the Senate Gallery.

At some point all the heated debate about the latest legislation to hit the floor will become either boring or rage-inducing, and you will want to find something else that will better catch your attention, allow you to cool your heels, or both. So if you're going to Washington soon and are in the market for a good play, musical, or concert during your visit, keep on reading for information about some of the places in D.C. where you can catch a show.

Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts Address: 2700 F Street, NW Nearest Metro Station: Orange and Blue lines: Foggy Bottom/George Washington University About: The Kennedy Center is Washington's flagship performing arts center. The Center hosts dance, theater, concert, and opera events. The Millennium Stage hosts free daily shows at 6pm, showcasing acts from all across the nation.

DAR Constitution Hall Address: 311 Eighteenth Street, NW Nearest Metro Station: Orange and Blue lines: Farragut West; Red line, Farragut North About: The DAR Constitution Hall was built in 1929 by the Daughters of the American Revolution. Well before the Kennedy Center was even a thought, the hall was the premier venue for live entertainment in D.C. It hosts concert artists and comedians.

Verizon Center Address: 601 F Street, NW Nearest Metro Station: Red, Yellow, and Green lines: Gallery Place-Chinatown About: The Verizon Center is the largest of the commercial entertainment venues in Washington, hosting concerts and sporting events. It was opened in 1997 as the MCI Center and is the home of the Washington Wizards, Capitals, and Mystics.

Nightclub 9:30 Address: 815 V Street, NW Nearest Metro Station: Green and Yellow lines: U Street/African American War Memorial About: Often known simply as the "9:30 Club," Nightclub 9:30 is a concert venue. Since opening in 1980, Nightclub 9:30 has attracted rock, grunge, and metal bands. It moved from its original location at 930 F Street, NW in 1996.

Arena Stage Address: 1101 Sixth Street, NW Nearest Metro Station: Green and Yellow lines: U Street/Cardozo About: Arena Stage is a non-profit theater featuring plays and musicals. It was founded in 1950 with a mission to stage productions with themes that appeal to American audiences. Arena Stage typically hosts between ten and twelve productions a season.

All of the venues listed above host shows that are family-friendly, so they are great choices for family vacationers looking to enjoy see a show together during their stay. So when you plan your trip to Washington, schedule in some time to get a taste of the city's options for live entertainment.

Setting Up a Live Broadcast on the Internet

Broadcasting live content over the Internet isn't as difficult as people would think. In fact, it's extremely easy. All you need is an audio or video source, a way of getting the audio or video to the PC, a free software program supplied by Microsoft, and enough upload bandwidth to cover the broadcasting of the content.

In this tutorial, I'll attempt to teach you what you need to know so you can broadcast your content over the Internet. I'll primarily show you audio only, but you'll see how easy it is to do video as you progress through this tutorial.

As this is a text only tutorial, you will want to download the free software from Microsoft, and go through the configuration while you read this tutorial. Don't panic though. It's really easy to do. Don't let the length of this tutorial scare you away. The rewards of having your live broadcast up and running should keep you motivated to stick with it.

The only slightly complicated part of this tutorial is to do with your firewall. Due to the number of firewalls out there, I'll be very generic in my approach to telling you what you need to do. I'll explain this in further detail later in the tutorial.

Let's Start

First things first. You need to set up your audio source. In this example I'm using a radio scanner to broadcast Live Police from a radio scanner.

I basically have the radio scanner plugged into my PC's sound card with a cable roughly 2 metres (7 Feet) in length with a 3.5mm mono plug on each end. Of course the length of cable is up to you. Note: if you are broadcasting music, you'll want to use a cable that has stereo plugs instead of mono plugs. You'll also want to ensure your plugs on the cable match the audio device, Some devices may use a 2.5mm plug instead of 3.5mm. If you are broadcasting voice only, mono plugs are better as it ensures sound comes out of both speakers for the listener.

Plug the cable in so that one end plugs into the headphone socket of your audio device, and the other end plugs into the Microphone socket of your sound card on your PC.

Now go to the Microsoft website and download the Windows Media Encoder 9 software. It's free. It's approximately 9.5MB. The link to the software is located at the bottom of this article.

Once you've installed the software, go ahead and start it. You'll be presented with the setup wizard. Highlight the option named Broadcast a Live Event and click OK.

You'll now be in the window where you can choose your audio source and/or video source. If you were setting up video, you would leave both items ticked, however in this example, we're just going to do audio so go ahead and untick the video option. Under the audio option use the drop down box and choose your sound card from the list. Then click the configure button.

In the audio properties window the only thing you really need to change is the option called Pin Line. In the Drop down box, choose Microphone. Of course you can also use Line In, but you need to ensure you've plugged the cable into the Line In of your sound card.

So far it's pretty easy right? Believe it or not, there's not a great deal more to do.

Let's continue shall we

Just click OK and then Next.

If you've followed the tutorial so far, you should be in a window where you can choose a broadcast method. Click on the radio box next to Pull from the encoder and click on the Next button.

In the field labeled Http Port, pick a common port like 8080. You'll thank me later. Many firewalls on routers have rules already set up for port 8080 and it makes it a lot easier to configure. It also allows maximum availability to the masses due to it being a common proxy port number. Go ahead and click Next.

Next we need to configure the encoding options. Go to the drop down box and choose Multiple Bit Rates audio (CBR). In the Bit rate section, choose 19kb/s. Note: Ensure you untick all the other bit rates. The only bit rate you want ticked is 19kb/s. This bit rate should be a good compromise between quality and bandwidth consumption for streaming voice quality. If you want to stream something like music, you may want to choose a higher bit rate. MP3 audio tends to be around 128kb/s but remember the higher bit rate you use, the more upload bandwidth will be required.

For an idea of bandwidth usage, you can have roughly 40 concurrent listeners on a 1mb/s upload bandwidth using 19kb/s. This will leave you with about 250kb/s for doing other things on the internet. The more concurrent listeners you have, the more powerful CPU you'll require, but from experience, you don't need a high powered CPU. The Live Police scanner at my website has a maximum of 40 concurrent listeners on a 1.7GHz CPU with 1 gig of memory and runs beautifully. And yes, I have reached 40 concurrent users at once.

Let's continue

Click the Next button, and then click it again so we skip the Archive section.

Here we'll type in some text about the audio. When people listen to the stream using their Windows Media Player, it will scroll this information to the listener.

Once you've typed in the Display Information click the Finish button instead of the Next button. You'll get a pop up dialog box that tells you about IP blocking. Just ignore this for now and click OK.

That wasn't that hard was it. Believe it or not, we're done. Well, almost.

Windows Media Encoder only allows a maximum of 5 concurrent listeners by default, so if you want to have more than 5 you can make a small windows registry change on your PC which will allow up to 50 connections.

Warning: Changing the registry can be hazardous to your operating system if you change or delete the wrong thing. If you aren't confident doing this yourself, get someone that knows what they're doing to help you out. I can't be held responsible if you mess it up, and can't boot back into your operating system. Now, having said that, it's a very easy to make the change so you shouldn't have a problem. Follow the instructions at the end of this document, only if you want to allow more than 5 concurrent listeners. If you're happy with 5 listeners, then we're almost done.

If you've followed the tutorial up until now, you will have an audio source with a cable going from the headphone socket to the Microphone socket of your sound card in your PC. You will have your Windows Media Encoder totally configured and be raring to go. Just ensure you save the configuration on the Windows Media Encoder so you can load it at any time.

One more minor speed bump to get over and you'll be broadcasting to the world. This is the part that can be a little complicated though. I'll attempt to give you the basics you'll need to get your live broadcast up and running. We'll break this down into two parts. Configuring your firewall, and working out your IP address so you can give it out to your listeners.

Configuring your firewall

If you are using a software firewall such as Zone Alarm, it's dead simple to configure. Basically, you just run the Windows Media Encoder and click the Start Encoding button. When you do this your firewall should prompt you asking if you will allow the connections. Just choose YES to all the questions. It needs access to the Internet, as well as needs to run as a server.

If you have a hardware firewall such as one that is built into your ADSL modem/router, then it gets a little more complicated. What you need to do is go into the configuration of the modem/router, and find the section labeled Firewall. In that section you'll be able to configure firewall rules to either Allow and Deny connections. The section may be called something similar to packet filter. Consult your manual to find out exactly where you need to make the changes.

Once you've located the correct section, you'll need to configure it so that the source ports range from 0 to 65535. The destination port range should be 8080 to 8080 if you followed my tutorial. Ensure Inbound and Outbound traffic is also allowed.

Note, some modem/routers might already have port 8080 configured. If your modem/router does already have this configured, then ignore the above because it sounds like you're already configured to allow the necessary connections.

How to connect to the broadcast

The URL to give to people is mms://:8080 where is whatever your public IP address happens to be. You need to ensure it's the address your ISP gives you, since people from the Internet will be connecting to it. If you aren't sure what your IP address is, you can get your IP address by visiting a site on the internet such as As soon as the site loads, your IP address will be at the top of the page in huge print. Simply replace with the actual IP address and your done.

Ensure you don't use the brackets in the URL though. It should look like mms:// except use your IP address.

That's it. I hope your head didn't explode

The only thing left to do now is adjust your audio source levels so that the audio meter stays mainly in the green. You can experiment by connecting to the stream yourself, and by putting the mms URL above into your browser's address bar and pressing enter. Your Windows Media Player should open and try and connect to the broadcast.

Note: If you aren't able to connect to the broadcast, only play with the firewall settings, and not the encoder. Ensure you have the START ENCODING button pressed on the encoder to ensure its running. If all has gone well, you should be listening to your broadcast over the Internet. Give that URL out to your visitors.

To increase the maximum number of direct connections

1. In Registry Editor, use the tree view to navigate to the following subkey:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOTSoftwareMicrosoftWindows Media ToolsEncoderMaxClientConnections

2. Edit the subkey so that it reflects the maximum number of direct connections you want to allow. The maximum possible number is 50.

Caution Incorrectly editing the registry can severely damage your system. Before making changes to the registry, you should back up any valued data on the computer.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.