I read somewhere in the neighbourhood of 100 podcast-related blog entries, press releases, and hoohaas each day. A large percentage of the the hoohaas are tired old "What is a podcast?" and "Do I Need an iPod?" type posts that are clearly published in order to drive traffic rather than to provide any new information or clarity to the space. Today, however, I read a pretty good post from Eric Rice on how to use Promonet from the IODA (Independent Online Distribution Alliance).
At the time of this writing, Promonet currently has over 13,000 promotracks. Promotracks are the downloadable mp3 files that can be posted, podcasted, streamed etc, with simple reciprocal linking to any of the artists’ digital retail channels. You sign up your blog, podcast, or streaming internet radio station; IODA approves it, and you then have the delightfully tedious task of browsing endless music for days and days and daysSure, there are tons of sites out there offering "podsafe" music, but the allure of Promonet is that it facilitates the discussion about the band, other songs on the album that may not have promo tracks, other albums by the same band, and other bands that are alike.
I think that's what truly makes the difference. I listen to the Rock and Roll Geek Show with Michael Butler for two reasons: one, I like the music and two, Butler's commentary shows he really knows his stuff. That's the problem with a lot of the other music podcasts I listen to: there's just music. No insight, no tips, just a slap-the-track-in-and-call-it-a-podcast show.
Services like Promonet can help flesh out a show or portion of a show by making relevant information about the artist easily available.